Johnson Service Co. - 1902-present - Milwaukee, Wisconsin (later Johnson Controls)


Known automotive body builder in 1912, now known as Johnson Controls, it its one of the worlds largest automotive seat and interior makers.


In 1883, Warren S. Johnson, a professor at the State Normal School in Whitewater, Wisconsin, received a patent for the first electric room thermostat. His invention launched the building control industry and was the impetus for a new company.

Johnson and a group of Milwaukee investors incorporated the Johnson Electric Service Company in 1885 to manufacture, install and service automatic temperature regulation systems for buildings. The company was renamed Johnson Controls in 1974.

Between 1885 and 1911, Professor Johnson delved into many other areas, including electric storage batteries, steam and gas powered automobiles, huge pneumatic tower clocks and wireless telegraph communication. But at his death in 1911, the company decided to focus solely on its temperature control business for nonresidential buildings.

In 1978, Johnson Controls acquired Globe-Union, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of automotive batteries for both the replacement and original equipment markets. Today, Johnson Controls is the largest producer of private-label lead-acid automotive batteries in North America, and is spreading its leadership to Asia and South America. The company also makes batteries for emergency power back-up and telecommunication applications.

Johnson Controls entered the automotive seating and plastics machinery industries in 1985 with the acquisition of Michigan-based Hoover Universal, Inc. At the time, the seating business primarily manufactured individual components, like frames, tracks or cushions, according to the automakers' specifications.

Today the company has become the world's largest manufacturer of complete seats, with manufacturing plants on five continents. Our just-in-time plants are located near customers' vehicle assembly plants. Seats are assembled, loaded on a truck, in a sequence that matches the cars coming down the assembly line, and delivered to the customer all in as little as 90 minutes.

Over the last decade, Johnson Controls has also developed comprehensive research, development, design, engineering and testing capabilities. This broad expertise is giving automakers and consumers seat systems with improved comfort, safety and technology.

Responding to its customers' requests, Johnson Controls expanded its presence within cars and light trucks in the early 1990s by offering interior components such as headliners and door trim. It significantly strengthened its position as a worldwide leader in interior systems through the 1996 acquisition of Prince Automotive. Prince is known for its innovation, from the first lighted vanity mirror in 1972 to the integration of electronics into interior systems. Johnson Controls currently provides all aspects of a complete interior, including overhead systems, floor consoles, door systems, instrument panels and seat systems.


In 1883 Warren S. Johnson first invented and received a patent for the electric room thermostat. He started his company with investors from Milwaukee to form, Johnson Electric Service Co. in 1885. The company changed to Johnson Controls in 1974. In 1978 Johnson Controls began to manufacture automotive batteries for both the replacement and equipment markets. In 1985 they began to enter the automotive seating and plastics machinery industries in 1985 with the acquisition of the Michigan based company Hoover Universal, Inc. Today Johnson Control's is the largest manufacturer of complete seats, with plants on five continents. They are continuing to improve their technology, comfort and safety. In 1996 they aquired Prince Automotive and now also provide complete interior, including overhead sytems, floor consoles, door systems, instrument panels and seat systems. Johnson Control is still today involved in both parts of its business, automotive and controls.



For more information please read:

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

Beverly Rae Kimes - Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Raymond A. Katzell - The Splendid Stutz

Marc Ralston - Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - There Is No Mistaking a Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Thomas E. Bonsall - The Lincoln Motorcar: Sixty Years of Excellence

Fred Roe - Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection

Arthur W. Soutter - The American Rolls-Royce

John Webb De Campi - Rolls-Royce in America

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Hugo Pfau - The Coachbult Packard

Griffith Borgeson - Cord: His Empire His Motor Cars

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

George H. Dammann - 90 Years of Ford

George H. Dammann & James K. Wagner - The Cars of Lincoln-Mercury

Thomas A. MacPherson - The Dodge Story

F. Donald Butler - Plymouth-Desoto Story

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Chrysler

Walter M.P. McCall - 80 Years of Cadillac LaSalle

Maurice D. Hendry - Cadillac, Standard of the World: The complete seventy-year history

George H. Dammann & James A. Wren - Packard

Dennis Casteele - The Cars of Oldsmobile

Terry B. Dunham & Lawrence R. Gustin - Buick: A Complete History

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Buick

George H. Dammann - 75 Years of Chevrolet

John Gunnell - Seventy-Five Years of Pontiac-Oakland


2004, Inc. | Index | Disclaimer | Privacy