Lonnie Johnson is best known for inventing the Super Soaker water gun, which has ranked among the world’s top 20 best-selling toys every year since its release.
While doing work with the U.S. Air Force, he still had time for his hobbies. This is when he first thought of the Super Soaker (officially there is not a space between Super and Soaker). On October 14, 1983 he applied for a U.S. patent. On May 27, 1986 he received patent number 4,591,071.Initially it was called the “Power Drencher” when it appeared in toy shops in 1990, but after some tweaks and remarketing, it got its official name. Selling between $10 to $60 depending on the model, the Super Soaker took off, generating $200 million in sales in 1991.
Unfortunately, Johnson discovered he was underpaid royalties for the Super Soaker and several "Nerf line of toys, specifically the N-Strike and Dart Tag brands." In November 2013, Johnson was awarded nearly $73 million in royalties from Hasbro Inc. in arbitration. According to Hasbro, the Super Soaker is approaching sales of $1 billion.