Fact File about the Invention of the Super Soaker: Invention: Super Soaker *** Date of Invention: 1982 *** Name of Inventor: Lonnie Johnson *** Lifespan of Inventor: 1949 - Present *** Nationality of Inventor: African American *** Historical Period: Technology and Information Age *** Category: Toys and Games *** Country of Origin: America *** Facts about the Inventor, Lonnie Johnson, and the invention of the Super Soaker ***
Fact 1: Who invented the Super Soaker? The Super Soaker was invented by Lonnie Johnson in 1982
and was introduced by Larami Toys in 1991 during the Technology and Information Age of inventions.
Fact 2: Who invented the Super Soaker? Prior to the invention of the
Super Soaker in 1982, kids played with trigger-based water pistols or squirt
guns. The games were always a lot of fun but kids (and adults) were to go crazy,
absolutely drenching each other, with the Super Soaker.
Fact 3: Who invented the Super Soaker? The inventor of the Super Soaker,
Lonnie Johnson, was born on October 6, 1949 in Mobile, Alabama, United States.
He is married to Linda Moore Johnson the couple have four children.
Fact 4: Who invented the Super Soaker? The early years of the African
American Lonnie Johnson were spent in Mobile, Alabama, United States where he
was raised by his family and grew up in a house full of brothers and sisters.
His father was a civilian driver at a local Air Force base.
Fact 5: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson was an inquisitive
child and loved asking his father how various things worked. He started
repairing household objects at an early age. He was also great at building
go-karts from odd pieces of scrap which earned him the nickname "the Professor"
from the kids in the neighbourhood.
Fact 6: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson was educated at
Williamson High School and was awarded an Air Force and math scholarship for
Tuskegee University. He invented a 3½ foot robot called Linex which received
first prize at the Alabama science fair.
Fact 7: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson worked hard at
Tuskegee University earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in
1973 and then went on to graduate with a masters in nuclear engineering in 1975.
Fact 8: Who invented the Super Soaker? Following his education Lonnie
Johnson joined the U.S. Air Force and worked as an engineer at Oak Ridge
National Laboratory, working on cooling systems for refrigerators, air
conditioners and for nuclear reactors. His talents were appreciated and was
assigned to the Strategic Air Command, where he helped develop the stealth
bomber program and then on to the Savannah River National Laboratory, where he
worked for the NASA space program as a systems engineer for the Galileo mission
to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn.
Fact 9: Who invented the Super Soaker? In his spare time Lonnie Johnson
continued to tinker with his inventions. The invention of the Super Soaker was
entirely made by accident when he was working on one of his long term projects
on a heat pump.
Fact 10: Who invented the Super Soaker? In 1982 Lonnie Johnson was
attempting to make an environmentally friendly heat pump that used water instead
of Freon. (Freon is the cooling agent used in most air conditioning and
Fact 11: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson decided to test
his prototype of the pump in his bathroom. He attached his prototype of the
pumping mechanism to the bathroom sink, aimed the nozzle into his bathtub,
pulled the lever and was startled by the powerful water blast that shot across
Fact 12: Who invented the Super Soaker? Amazed and highly amused at the
powerful water blast he had a 'Eureka' moment and came up with the idea for a
making a water gun that would use compressed air to provide pressure for a water
blast. His idea would develop into the invention of the Super Soaker.
Fact 13: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson began the
development of his water gun to the delight of his kids. On October 14,
1983 he applied for a U.S. patent for his invention that he initially called the
"Power Drencher". On May 27, 1986 he received patent number 4,591,071.
Fact 14: Who invented the Super Soaker? Sure he was on to a winning
invention, Lonnie Johnson wanted to manufacture the gun himself but he didn't
have the $200,000 that a factory told him it would cost to produce the first
1000 water guns.
Fact 15: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson did not have the
money to invest in his invention so he began a long journey trying to convince a
toy company to go into partnership with him. It took him seven years to find a
toy company who was interested.
Fact 16: Who invented the Super Soaker? In February 1989 he was at the
American International Toy Fair in New York when he met a guy called Al Davis,
the vice president of the Larami toy company. Al Davis thought that the idea of
a high performance water pistol was interesting but wasn't that enthusiastic
about the product.
Fact 17: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson returned home and
started work on a new prototype of the water gun. This model was constructed
with a light weight plastic called plexiglass and had the additional feature of
a water reservoir. The water gun built around a pump mechanism, which built up
water pressure before the blast by pumping air directly into the water
reservoir. As more air was pumped into the device it became more and more
compressed and so applied greater pressure to the water inside.
Fact 18: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson left the Air Force
to become an independent inventor working for himself. Lonnie Johnson contacted
Al Davis and finally sold his device to the Larami Corporation who re-branded
the "Power Drencher" as the "Super Soaker".
Fact 19: Who invented the Super Soaker? The Larami Corporation, which put
the "Super Soaker" into mass production became a massive success reaching sales
worth $200 million in 1991.
Fact 20: Who invented the Super Soaker? The "Super Soaker" became one of
the Top 20 best selling toys in the world.
Fact 21: Who invented the Super Soaker? Lonnie Johnson went to found his
own company called Johnson Research and Development and continues to work on his
Fact 22: Who invented the Super Soaker? In 2011, Lonnie Johnson was
inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.