The Pfister Hotel and Johnson Controls grew up together

02 Nov, 2011

by Ed Makowski

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An example of the first thermostats Johnson Controls installed in the Pfister Hotel. Reflected is a painting on the opposite wall of Pfister piano player Dr. Jeffrey Hollander. His likeness was rendered by previous resident artist Katie Musolff.

Did you know the first building to (ever!) have temperature controls in each room was the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin? During the Industrial Revolution Johnson Controls and the Pfister Hotel grew up like two kids on the same block. Both also grew to garner international recognition in their chosen fields. I met with Johnson Controls Head Archivist Ken Wirth to hear their intertwined stories.

We couldn’t leave the guest of honor out of the conversation, so Ken and I talked over coffee in the hotel’s lobby lounge. This interview originally aired November 1st, 2011 on 89.7 WUWM during Lake Effect and is introduced by Lake Effect Executive Producer Mitch Teich. To listen simply click the player below.

 

Good thing we have Wisconsin weather! (to thank for the electric thermostat) by Ed Makowski

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About the author

Ed Makowski

Ed Makowski is a poet/writer/artist/radio personality/gatherer of stories and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While working as Eddie Kilowatt he released two poetry books, Manifest Density and Carrying a Knife in to the Gunfight. Density was included in Best New Poetry of 2006 and Gunfight received the Carma Writer’s Award. Both were released on his indy press Full Contact Publishing. Ed is also a regular contributor of interviews to Lake Effect on Milwaukee’s NPR station 89.7 WUWM. This is also where he curates The Lunch Counter storytelling series. Through April the Pfister Hotel is home to The Lunch Counter. Ed will serve as the Pfister Narrator through April 2012. Ed is also working on a few different poetry books, each taking overtly different directions; dialogue poems, history poems, longer storytelling poems. Between writing projects and working Ed likes to ride motorcycles and backpack into the middle of nowhere.

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