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Meet the man who invented the super soaker

Johnson is a prodigious creator, holding more than patents on a variety of products and processes, including designs for film lithium batteries , electrochemical conversion systems , heat pumps, therminonic generators and various items to enhance battery production , including a thin-film ceramic proton-conducting electrolyte. In addition to serious-science inventions, Johnson has also patented such versatile and amusing concepts as a hair drying curler apparatus , wet diaper detector , toy rocket launcher and Nerf Blasters. Yes, that rapid-fire system with foam darts that tempts the child in all of us to mount ambushes on unsuspecting relatives and pets. In , while at the U. Air Force Space Missions Lab, he patented a device that optically reduces a binary code to scale, then uses a magnifying lens and sensors to retrieve the information.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Meet the Accidental Genius

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Meet Lonnie Johnson, the Man Behind the Super Soaker

Skip to content. Intellectual Property Law. Published in Landslide Vol. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association. Constitution, authorizing Congress to give inventors exclusive rights to their inventions for a limited time.

Congress in , and it revolutionized the global patent landscape. From inception, our patent system recognized that American progress needs inventors and that inventors should own the fruits of their intellectual labor for some period of time when certain requirements are met.

On paper, these constitutional ideals have always applied equally to the demographic tapestry of American inventors. The original law did not explicitly exclude certain races of inventors from participation in the patent system, unlike some of the other laws that existed at that time.

There were, however, practical legal barriers that excluded the earliest black inventors in the United States from obtaining patents. The patent system simply was not available at that time to enslaved people—they were not considered American citizens, and the rights and provisions of the Constitution did not extend to them.

For black inventors who were either born free or otherwise acquired their freedom, there were also legal barriers. There was and continues to be a consistently wide gap between the colorblind American patent system and certain groups of inventors, especially black inventors. It will also highlight past and present barriers faced by black inventors. These gaps show the reality of the times—black inventors faced significant barriers whether free or enslaved. People who were enslaved served as prolific inventors on Southern plantations.

For example:. At the turn of the nineteenth century, a Kentucky slave invented the hemp brake. In about , a Massachusetts slave named Ebar invented a method of making brooms out of corn stalks. In about , an Alabama slave named Hezekiah invented a machine for cleaning cotton.

In , a Charleston, South Carolina slave named Anthony Weston invented an improvement on a threshing machine invented by W.

And in , a North Carolina slave named Stephen Slade invented a method of curing tobacco that enabled the creation of the modern cigarette. These unsung inventors never obtained patents or the financial gains of their inventions—though slave masters and other white men often did. Some enslaved inventors did , however, acquire significant wealth. One quintessential example of early American ingenuity is the story of Benjamin Montgomery, who was born into slavery in Virginia in and later sold in Mississippi to Joseph Davis, the brother of Jefferson Davis.

While enslaved in Mississippi, Montgomery invented a certain type of boat propeller with significant utility for those who depended on steamboats to deliver goods along the waterways. Nonetheless, Montgomery found success. He operated a general store on the plantation, built relationships, and continued to innovate. After the Civil War ended, he also purchased the plantation he worked on as a slave and became one of the wealthiest planters in Mississippi.

This positioned his son, Isaiah Montgomery, to found Mound Bayou, a successful African American enclave in Mississippi in the early s. Thomas Jennings, the first known black patentee, was born free and successfully patented a dry cleaning method in Another black inventor, Norbert Rillieux, revolutionized industry both domestically and abroad. Rillieux was born free in Louisiana in and studied engineering in France.

Unfortunately, all free black inventors were not created equal. According to Professor Brian Frye:. Obtaining a patent was difficult and expensive [for free black inventors].

Some inventors could not afford to patent their inventions or could not obtain legal assistance. Some inventions were not worth patenting. And some patent applications were rejected, possibly based on racial discrimination. Accordingly, some patent applicants concealed their race from the Patent Office, in order to avoid potential discrimination.

And others used their white partners as proxies, for the same reason. One such inventor was Henry Boyd, who purchased his freedom in prior to inventing a new type of bed frame. Boyd partnered with a white man who applied for the patent in his own name. These early inventors laid the groundwork for modern American inventors from all backgrounds, especially black inventors. However, the number of black U. The next section will highlight some of these inventors and the impact of low patent system involvement.

One of the most prolific inventors of the golden age was Granville T. Woods, a black man who received more than 60 patents in the fields of electricity and telegraphic communications. He studied electronics, machining, and blacksmithing while working full time. Upon his death in , Woods had realized his goal of helping to modernize America. Along with Woods, Lewis Latimer was a premier black inventor at the end of the nineteenth century.

Born free in to parents who had run away from slavery, Latimer learned about patent drafting as an office boy in a Massachusetts patent law firm. As the twentieth century was beginning, other black inventors were helping to make Americans safer with their inventions. Garrett Morgan, for example, received patents for what would become the gas mask in 48 and the traffic signal in Charles Richard Drew, a doctor in Washington, D.

In the home safety space, Marie Van Brittan Brown invented the first home security system and obtained a patent for it in These examples show that black American inventors have developed technology that not only advanced American technology but also saved and continues to save lives. These inventors improved our health and safety. Other black inventors created new ways for people around the world to enjoy themselves. Lonnie Johnson, for example, changed water fights forever with his invention of the number one selling water toy of all time—the Super Soaker water gun.

Other modern American inventors have used their inventions to serve the world as humanitarians. Patricia Bath, an ophthalmologist and academic, received multiple patents related to cataract treatment between and She travels the world on humanitarian missions, restoring sight for those without access to adequate medical treatment. Modern black inventors are also at the forefront of cutting-edge technology that improves both the public and private sectors.

Another such inventor is Janet Emerson Bashen, the founder and current CEO of Bashen Corporation, who became the first black woman to obtain an American software patent in She founded a company to meet this need and then coinvented a way to securely store information about EEO investigations. In the public sector, there are esteemed inventors such as Dr. Robert G. Bryant has served as an inventor or coinventor on dozens of issued patents related to polymers and advanced composites during his career at NASA.

These black American inventors illustrate the range of benefits associated with encouraging innovation and access to the American patent system. Those who can participate in it not only receive the personal right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling their invention, but they also receive a gateway to revolutionizing our country with their innovations. Unfortunately, the reality remains that black patentees are woefully underrepresented in America.

Recent studies show wide disparities between the number of U. There is no reliable data on the actual number and proportion of black American patentees because the United States Patent and Trademark Office USPTO does not currently collect demographic data about patentees. For example, one study found that from to , black American inventors received six patents per million people, compared to patents per million for all U.

This report identified only 0. There are no easy answers to address these racial gaps. As some scholars have noted, any solutions are multifaceted and their success will rely on the creation and success of other solutions.

The existing gaps must be addressed, however, and not merely for social parity reasons. Matthews came up with the idea after attending a wedding in Nigeria as a teenager. As America looks forward, we would all be served well by creating an inclusive and diverse patent system that is not only colorblind, but accessible to all. The Massachusetts general court granted the first patent in the 13 colonies to Samuel Winslow in Article I forms the basis of both patent and copyright law in the United States.

President George Washington actually singled out the Patent Act as the law the first Congress should pass to vitalize the new nation. Davis L. Brian L. Frye, Invention of a Slave , 68 Syracuse L. Kara W. Legal Hist. See Frye, supra note 7, at footnotes omitted. See Frye, supra note 7, at ; see also Aoki, supra note 6, at — See generally Lisa J. Dale M. Most of all. Jo Anderson, deserves honor as the man who worked beside him in the building on the reaper.

Jo Anderson was a slave, a general farm laborer and a friend. Cyrus never spared his own fine physique by day or by night; and the Negro toiled with him up to the hour of the test and after.

Magic word is ‘persevere,’ Super Soaker inventor tells Pittsburgh students

Skip to content. Intellectual Property Law. Published in Landslide Vol.

Written by Ally Koehler Published on It was the star of every kid's summer arsenal in the '90s, but the Super Soaker almost never made it further than a Pasadena bathroom. We ask inventor Lonnie Johnson how perseverance paid off.

Yet perhaps one of the most impressive pedigrees in the arena of toy inventions comes from none other than a former engineer with both the United States Air Force and NASA, meet Lonnie G. Johnson, the inventor of the Super Soaker. His storied career has spanned over 40 years touching everything from the Stealth Bomber Program to the Jet Propulsion Lab where he worked with the nuclear power source for the Galileo mission to Jupiter. The Super Soaker is an instantly recognizable and continually high-selling toy. Yet despite the wild success of his particularly delightful invention, Lonnie G.

The Rocket Scientist Who Invented the Super Soaker

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The Colorblind Patent System and Black Inventors

And it happened by accident. From The New York Times :. Johnson was working at home on a new kind of cooling device. He envisioned one that ran on water. It would not only be efficient but would also be environmentally friendly.

Born October 6, , in Mobile, Alabama, Lonnie Johnson is an engineer and inventor who holds more than patents, one of which is for the iconic top-selling water toy — the Super Soaker.

Lonnie Johnson is interviewed by William Thornton at Al. That becomes apparent on a visit to his laboratory in downtown Atlanta. Using the revenue from his past success, he's developing two devices he believes can revolutionize electrical power generation and storage. William Kremer interviewed Lonnie about racial barriers, the invention of the Super Soaker, and his new ceramic battery technology.

The Accidental Invention of the Super Soaker

Johnson, now 70, of Atlanta, invented the Cadillac of water guns accidentally, he said Thursday. He was at home working on an environmentally-friendly heat pump that used water. He shot a stream of water from a hose that was part of the pump and enjoyed the experience.

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You may not know Lonnie G. Johnson by name, but chances are if you have been soaked by a high-powered water gun in the past decade or two, you have Johnson to thank. Johnson, an African-American engineer, inventor and two-time Tuskegee University graduate, will share the passions and motivations behind his imaginative spirit during a public lecture on Friday, Feb. It was the star of every kid's summer arsenal in the '90s, but the Super Soaker almost never made it further than a Pasadena bathroom. We ask inventor Lonnie Johnson how perseverance paid off.

Meet Lonnie Johnson: Scientist And Inventor Of The Super Soaker

The Super Soaker was a game changer when came to squirt guns and summer fun. And you have Lonnie Johnson to thank for it. Now he's working on a few other inventions that he hopes will change the world. Following is a transcript of the video. I'm Lonnie Johnson. I'm an inventor. The invention that most people know me for is the Super Soaker water gun. I knew the gun worked well, and I knew it would be successful.

Jan 26, - Johnson Research and Development Co., who invented the wildly-popular Super Soaker water gun, worked on high-performance Nerf dart.

Listen Listening The Super Soaker toy gun was on the top of nearly every kid's wish list in the '90s, and it made summer heat a literal blast. It was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in The man who invented the Super Soaker is Johnson.

Meet the NASA genius who invented the Super Soaker

Тем более что проник он сюда в самый неподходящий момент. Побледневший кардинал показал рукой на занавешенную стену слева от. Там была потайная дверь, которую он установил три года .

Meet Lonnie Johnson: The Man Who Invented The Super Soaker Water Gun

 Я все рассказал лейтенанту. - Я с ним говорил, но… - Надеюсь, вы отчитали его как следует! - воскликнул Клушар. Беккер кивнул: - Самым решительным образом.

 Чед, уверяю тебя, в шифровалке творится что-то непонятное.

Никто не проронил ни слова. Он снова посмотрел на Джаббу и закрыл.  - Танкадо отдал кольцо с умыслом. Мне все равно, думал ли он, что тучный господин побежит к телефону-автомату и позвонит нам, или просто хотел избавиться от этого кольца.

Meet the man who invented the Super Soaker — one of the best-selling toys of all time

Он дернул шнурок в третий раз, более резко. И снова. - На маршруте двадцать семь их отсоединяют.  - Панк снова сплюнул в проход.  - Чтоб мы не надоедали.

Старик застонал. - Он называл ее… - Речь его стала невнятной и едва слышной. Медсестра была уже совсем близко и что-то кричала Беккеру по-испански, но он ничего не слышал. Его глаза не отрывались от губ Клушара.

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