Lonnie Johnson, also known as “the Professor” of Johnson Research and Development Co., created the Super Soaker water gun in 1989, grossing over $200 million dollars in sales. The Super Soaker has been in the top 20 on the list of the world’s top selling toys since its creation. In a recent lawsuit with the Hasbro company, Johnson was awarded $79.2 million in royalties. Johnson claimed that Hasbro had underpaid royalties for his line of Nerf toys for five years starting in 2007. The suit also included specific unpaid royalties for the Super Soaker in 1996. The toy company had begun to sell water guns that were very similar to Johnson’s design with the same technology.
Lonnie Johnson, PH.D, is a nuclear engineer and a graduate of Tuskegee University. The Mobile, Alabama native followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the U.S. Air Force, where he helped to develop the stealth bomber program. Johnson was on the team that designed the Cassini robot probe that flew 740 million miles to Saturn. The systems engineer was also on the engineering team for the Galileo mission to Jupiter.