28 days of Black Inventions: Super Soaker


28 days of Black Inventions

February 3rd, 2017

As we normally do this time of year, we’re going to celebrate Black History Month by acknowledging 28 of the most influential, world changing inventions by Black People. Our goal is to shed light on some inventions that most people probably didn’t know about, some of the lessor known inventions as well some of the more notable inventions. So join us on our 28 day journey and you might learn a thing or two.

The Super Soaker Water Pistol

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Most people had no clue that an era defining Water Gun was created by a NASA Engineer, Inventor. The “Power Drencher” was a the precursor to the now infamous “Super Soaker” Water Pistol. I remember growing up in the 90’s wanting & waiting to get my hands on the super popular Water Gun “The Super Soaker”. This Toy/Water Pistol changed the way you played with water during those hot summer days. I can remember the tedious task of filling up bottles & water balloons with water. Steady running the risk of getting drenched by your opponent during fill up. Sure water Pistols existed but they were pretty feeble in a game of water tag. You had to be pretty accurate throwing those water balloons to wet someone and even worse you had to be in close proximity to someone in order to really wet them with your water bottle.

Lonnie Johnson

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Lonnie Johnson, Engineer & Inventor

Thanks to the cleaver Invention of Mr. Lonnie Johnson in 1982-1986 when he received his patent for the “Power Drencher”. A water pistol (that that used a pressurized technique of store water from a connected water tank on the pistol) to shoot water in a steady power stream that could literally Drench someone. It also had long distance capability, able to shoot water up to 50 feet or more depending on the model and pressure applied before squirting.

It took a while to catch on but when it did everyone everywhere had one. Mr. Johnson struck a deal with Toy Company Larami and together they began mass producing the water gun in 1990 & renaming it in 1991 to it’s current iconic name “Super Soaker”. Lonnie Johnson was also the creator of what we know now as Nerf Guns that shoot plastic projectiles or balls. Currently the Super Soaker franchise has generated over $1 Billion Dollars worth of Water Pistols & accessories. Which in turn made Mr Johnson a very wealthy man. But it did not come with it’s fare share of shady business. Lonnie Johnson had to sue Hasbro (The Parent Company of the now defunct Larami Toy Company) and the Nerf brand as well for unpaid royalties tied to the sales of his Super Soaker & Nerf related products. He won a judgement of over $70 Million Dollars.

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Editors Note: Not just fun & games this man was very remarkable, Worked for NASA as a Engineer in their Jet Propulsion Lab & helped launch the missions for unmanned Spacecraft to Saturn & Jupiter. #Thankyou

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