Paul Johnson, MIT grad & Engineer

Company founder Warren Johnson’s first son Paul born

October 13, 1874 (PD: 201510)


Paul Johnson circa 1917

On October 13, 1874, Paul Franklin Johnson, the first son of Johnson Controls’ founder Warren Johnson, was born in Downsville, Wisconsin.

Johnson began working in his father’s business at the age of 13, well before his graduation from M. I. T. in 1898 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

Returning to the company after graduation, Johnson had a hand in a number of different projects.  He was responsible for erecting the pneumatically-operated tower clock in Philadelphia’s City Hall.  He also assisted his father with his wireless telegraphy efforts and, in 1900, a wireless exhibit they submitted together with Charles Fortier won second place at the World’s Fair in Paris. Paul Johnson also earned a patent for developing means to adjust thermostats.

In 1915, Paul Johnson moved with his family to Altadena, California.  During World War I, he served as an aeronautical mechanical engineer at a naval aircraft plant in Philadelphia.  After the war, he opened a radio store and operated one of the first radio stations on the West Coast.  He was also an avid yachtsman.

Paul Johnson died on March 20, 1946, at the age of 71.  His affiliation with the business his father founded had continued until his death, at which time he served both as company treasurer and as a member of the board of directors.