This wildly successful toy was brought into being in 1982 when Lonnie Johnson, founder and president of Johnson Research, was experimenting at home with another invention, an environmentally friendly heat pump. He attached a high pressure nozzle to the bathroom sink and when it shot a powerful stream of water across the bathroom into the tub, his first thought was, “This would make a great water gun!” Acting on that idea, he made a water gun prototype for his daughter. When it proved to be a huge success with her neighborhood friends, he began the search for a potential manufacturer. After several false starts, the Super Soaker® was licensed in 1989 to Larami Corporation. In 1995, Larami sold Super Soaker® to Hasbro Corporation. With the Super Soaker®, Hasbro remains the undisputed dominator of the water gun market in the world today. The competitive advantage of this toy has been maintained worldwide by an array of intellectual property rights owned by Lonnie Johnson.
Capitalizing on the success of the Super Soaker®, Johnson founded Johnson Research and Development Co., Inc. with the objective of bringing advanced technology to the toy and consumer products industries and developing a synergism wherein the creativity and innovation of the toy industry would inspire innovations in technology. With Johnson’s experience and knowledge, from toys to advanced space systems and environmental technology, Johnson Research is developing leading edge technology from consumer products to alternative, environmentally friendly methods of power generation. Under Lonnie Johnson’s leadership, Johnson Research has incubated two spin off companies – Excellatron Solid State, LLC, and Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems, LLC – to develop these revolutionary technologies. We also work jointly with many industry leading firms to address specific market needs.