Note on the Timeline

December 31, 2016/Updated June 3, 2017 (PD: 201612)

Want to learn about entrepreneurs?

Ever wonder how a company can thrive for over 130 years?

You can learn a lot of that in reading through the Johnson Controls Timeline stories compiled here. Over 260 stories recount the history of Johnson Controls and the companies who together helped create today’s successful company.

The Timeline is a work in progress. New stories are being added every two months. Also, we have yet to add the Johnson Controls/Tyco story, so, come back regularly to pick up your day with an interesting tale or two about the continuing development of Johnson Controls.


Ken Wirth, company historian, is the source for these stories. Most of them have been posted to the company portal prior to posting here. We are very grateful to Ken for sharing his work with the WSJ Society.

Here are a few pointers to help you enjoy the Timeline:

  1. The stories are published in order of their original publication, so, scrolling down the Timeline, you can learn what was happening at Johnson Controls, York, Globe-Union, Hoover, and others as they developed their businesses.
  2. A post date (PD) has been added to each story to allow you to pick out new stories added since your last visit. The format is “PD: <year><month>” so if you want to find the stories posted in July 2016, you can enter: PD: 201607 into the search box to find those stories. The <year> posting began was 2012 with normally up to 4 stories each month.
  3. If you would like to investigate what was happening in any given year, or at specific company, just enter that year or company name into the search box. You may get a few extra hits, but most of the results will be stories that were originally published on the Timeline.
  4. Do a search for “Founder Story:” to learn about people who started or led major business changes in the companies that had major impact on the development of Johnson Controls.

Update June, 2017: Thanks to our President, Gene Strehlow we have access to years of issues of “Monitoring the Field.” That’s the newsletter that was put out monthly by Field Engineering. Gene has been scanning issues from his treasure trove, issues starting from June 1971, so we can share them with all of you. Do a search on the Home page for “Monitoring the Field” to find all of the issues we’ve posted. By the way we’ve placed the issued on the timeline at the time of their original publication. That way you can place in time context what the folks who were serving customers daily and those who supported them were doing as the company was developing. There will be regular additions posted as we find the time to get it done. So, come back for more!

Update November, 2017: Unfortunately, time and resources committed to the creation of these stories got caught in the quest for synergies available in the recent merger. Continued success of the Johnson Controls is the goal and we certainly agree with that, wishing all guiding the future of the company well.

There is a lot to be learned from the lessons Ken and his team were able to publish. I just posted the story of Thomas Shipley of York who demonstrated that standards can be used to accelerate the growth of an industry. How’s that for a lesson counter to today’s confusion?  In that group of stories is also the pivot of Hoover Ball & Bearing Company to automotive seats. The folks at Adient know the impact of that one! There are many more examples. Enjoy exploring the Timeline. I certainly did as they were posted over the last several years.

Thank-you Ken and your team for giving us these great insights into the development of Johnson Controls and all of the companies and people who built the company from its start. 

I still have issues of The Monitor to post, so come back for those as well. 

(Jude Anders Editor)


Enjoy the Johnson Controls Timeline!