PENN Controls Celebrates 100 Years of Leadership and Refrigeration Expertise

November 28, 2018

PENN Controls, a brand of Johnson Controls, will mark its 100th anniversary in 2019. The company, which offers a complete line of commercial refrigeration controls products, was founded in 1919 by brothers Ralph and Albert Penn.

“Johnson Controls and PENN Controls are proud to celebrate this milestone and are committed to another 100 years of serving the commercial refrigeration controls market,” said Tony Legeza, general manager, commercial refrigeration, PENN Controls. “Our innovative and intelligent controls are designed to provide high efficiency and low applied cost for sustainable, eco-friendly refrigeration applications around the world. Our vision is fueled by continued investment and growth to exceed customer expectations and delight the marketplace.”

In 1919, the Penn brothers co-founded the Penn Electric Machine Company in Des Moines, Iowa. Its first product was the innovative Type S pressure switch, which Albert developed to automatically operate electric motor-driven water pumps. Their commitment to product innovation continued and in 1924, the Penn Electric Machine Company was awarded its first patent for a quick-acting switch mechanism.

Recognizing a 50-year legacy of innovation, the Johnson Service Company (now Johnson Controls) acquired PENN Controls in 1968, expanding its manufacturing capabilities and international business. In 1986, PENN Controls introduced its first electronic modular temperature control, the System 350, which is still manufactured today.

The PENN Controls spirit of innovation that inspired Ralph and Albert Penn to found their company still lives on 100 years later in their product offerings, which include:

  • A525 Series electronic refrigeration controllers with adaptive defrost
  • MR5, a versatile, multifunctional, programmable temperature control
  • QREV (Quick Response Expansion Valve) and PSHC (Precision Super Heat Controller), which form an electronically controlled expansion valve

Future opportunities are available for PENN to bring precision controls to the supermarket, restaurant, convenience store and beverage industries – especially the brewing industry – where temperature and humidity control are essential to the fermentation process.

“We’re not only looking back at PENN’s 100-year history,” added Legeza. “We’re looking forward to embarking on our next century of innovation in controls, with the momentum of our legacy and expertise to propel us.”

For more information on PENN Controls, visit


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