Inventions by Black Americans That Make Life Better: Leisure and Recreation

Excerpted from an article by Michelle Dillon for the Jacksonville Progress 2/13/22. Read the full article here.

People enjoy their pastimes and many of those pastimes include fun and games. In this installment of our series about inventions by Black Americans, we’ll review a few contributions that make leisure time more enjoyable.

For many children, and perhaps adults, summertime wouldn’t be the same without the Super Soaker. While many are familiar with the water gun, it might be less known that the popular toy is the invention of a Black American who was an Air Force and NASA engineer, Lonnie Johnson.

Johnson earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. degree in Nuclear Engineering and an honorary Ph.D. in Science from Tuskegee University.

Johnson founded his own engineering firm in 1989, licensing his most famous invention, the Super Soaker, to Larami Corp, which was later purchased by Hasbro Corporation. His water gun is reportedly the result of his work on an environmentally friendly heat pump.

Johnson remains president of Johnson Research and Development Co, Inc., is a board member of the Hank Aaron “Chasing the Dream” Foundation, and serves as a trustee to the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Johnson currently holds over 100 patents, with more pending.