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Honoring the Inventor of the Super Soaker – Lonnie G. Johnson

With National Inventor’s Day right around the corner (Feb 11th – Thomas Edison’s birthday), we would like to shine the spotlight on Lonnie G Johnson, whose remarkable achievements have left indelible impressions on the world. Not only did Johnson revolutionize water play with the invention of the Super Soaker, but he also continues to pave the way for aspiring inventors to this day . We hope this inspires you to always think creatively!

The Journey of Lonnie G Johnson

Lonnie G Johnson grew up during the height of the Civil Rights Movement and experienced racial injustice first-hand, but he never lost his passion for science and invention, not even after being pulled over by police at the age of 13 while riding a lawnmower he had converted into a go-kart. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Tuskegee University, Johnson went on to pursue a master’s degree in nuclear engineering at the prestigious Tuskegee Institute.

Johnson’s career took an unexpected turn when he joined the U.S. Air Force, where he worked on projects related to stealth technology and the Galileo spacecraft. It was during this time he began experimenting with a side project that would eventually lead to the creation of the iconic Super Soaker. In 1990, Johnson received a patent for his invention, and the Super Soaker quickly became a sensation in the toy industry, transforming the way people played with water guns.

Johnson’s impact extends beyond the world of toys. His journey from Mobile, Alabama to creating a globally recognized and beloved toy is an inspiring story of perseverance and innovation. Johnson’s achievements broke down barriers and shattered stereotypes, proving talent and creativity know no racial or social bounds. Johnson’s success encourages aspiring inventors from all backgrounds to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles they may face.

To this day Johnson continues to be a role model and advocate for STEM education, particularly for underrepresented minorities. He founded the Johnson STEM Activity Center, an organization dedicated to inspiring and mentoring young minds in science and engineering. Through his initiatives, Johnson continues to pave the way for the next generation of inventors, ensuring the legacy of black excellence in STEM fields remains vibrant and thriving.

Super Soakers as Tools of Artistic Expression

We are particularly grateful to Lonnie G Johnson for yet another reason. Beyond providing entertainment during hot summer days, Super Soakers have proven an unconventional tool for artistic expression. In recent years, artists around the world have discovered the unique qualities of these water guns to create mesmerizing works of art, much like our ERAS machines do! Hint hint wink wink.

As a multitude of artists, but especially parents of little artists, have discovered, this unconventional form of art adds a new dimension to the legacy of water guns, turning a beloved childhood toy into a tool for artistic expression. But no matter the size of the “brush,” paintings such as these exemplify the beauty that can arise when creativity intersects with unexpected mediums.

So, it is with great honor we celebrate the creativity and ingenuity inventors bring to the world, and in particular, we wish to thank Lonnie G. Johnson for breaking barriers and inspiring the next generation of inventors. Let us also appreciate the unexpected ways in which his invention, the Super Soaker, has become a tool for artistic expression, proving that innovation can be both profound and playful.

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