Lonnie Johnson Biography, Age Early Life, education, Career, Family, Personal Life, Awards, Legacy, Social Media, Trivia, Net Worth & more

Lonnie Johnson Biography

Lonnie George Johnson, an American inventor, aerospace engineer, and entrepreneur, was born on October 6, 1949. He has served in the U.S. Air Force and worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for twelve years. In 1989, he created the Super Soaker water gun, which has since become one of the top-selling toys in the world.

Lonnie Johnson Early life

In Alabama’s Mobile, Johnson was born. His father, who did not complete high school, was a World War II soldier, while his mother, who completed high school, worked as a nurse’s aide. Johnson learned the fundamentals of electricity from his father at a young age. Johnson claimed that he “always liked to tinker with things,” which is how he got the moniker “the Professor” from local kids. He reportedly “tore up his sister’s baby doll in order to discover what caused her eyes to close.” He also attempted to boil rocket fuel in a pot, nearly causing the home to burn down.

Johnson went to Williamson High School in Mobile as a teenager; it was an all-black institution. George Washington Carver served as a major source of inspiration for him. At a science fair in Alabama in 1968, Johnson represented his high school as the sole black participant. At the time, African Americans were hardly represented in the scientific community. He won first place by presenting his self-built robot, “Linex,” at the competition. Compressed air provided the robot’s power.

Johnson enrolled at Tuskegee University in 1969, not long after receiving his high school diploma. He earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 1973 and a master’s in nuclear engineering in 1975. He also possesses a Tuskegee University honorary Ph.D. in science. Before eventually joining NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1979, he first worked for the U.S. Air Force, where he contributed to the development of the stealth bomber program.

Lonnie Johnson Career

Johnson contributed to a number of projects at NASA from 1979 to 1991, including the Air Force missions Lab, the development of the nuclear power source for the Galileo mission to Jupiter, a number of projects involving weapons, and work as an engineer on the Mariner Mark ll Spacecraft series for the Comet Rendezvous and Saturn Orbiter Probe missions. The stealth bomber program was another project on which he worked.

Johnson established his own business in 1991 and currently serves as president of Johnson Research and Development Co., Inc.

More recently, he collaborated with researchers from Tuskegee University and Tulane University to create a process for converting heat into electricity that will make green energy more accessible.

Excellatron Solid State, LLC, Johnson Energy Storage, and Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems (JEMS), three technology-development businesses owned by Johnson, are active in Atlanta, Georgia’s Sweet Auburn neighborhood as of 2022. Popular Mechanics named the Johnson Thermo-Electrochemical Converter System (JTEC) by JEMS as one of the top ten inventions of 2009. Johnson Energy Storage has created a solid-state battery and will begin seeking money in early 2023 to create a demonstration manufacturing line.

Johnson belongs to a select group of African-American innovators, whose contributions make up 6% of all U.S. patent applications.

Lonnie Johnson Super Soaker

While working with the US Air Force, Johnson had the idea for the Super Soaker. The “Power Drencher” was the name given to it when it initially debuted in toy stores in 1990; nevertheless, after numerous modifications and rebranding, it finally acquired its trademark name. The Super Soaker, which ranged in price from $10 to $60 depending on the model, was a hit and brought in $200 million in sales in 1991. In February 1995, shortly after the Super Soaker agreement was reached with the Larami Corporation, Larami became a division of Hasbro Inc.

Johnson changed the water gun’s design by using a “toy [Nerf] projectile” in place of the Super Soaker’s water.

After learning that he was being underpaid royalties for the Super Soaker and various Nerf line toys, Johnson launched a lawsuit against Hasbro in February 2013. Johnson won a nearly $73 million settlement from Hasbro Inc. in an arbitration in November 2013. Hasbro claims that sales of the Super Soaker are getting close to $1 billion.

Lonnie Johnson Accolades

More than 250 patents are held by Johnson, the majority of them are for his Super Soaker. Johnson received both the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal. He was recognized by NASA with a number of honors for his work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory designing spaceship systems. For his work on JTEC, he received the Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics in 2008, and in 2011, he was inducted into the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame. The Super Soaker was admitted to the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2015. Johnson was admitted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2022.

Lonnie Johnson Personal life

Linda Moore and Johnson are currently married. They have four kids and reside in Atlanta, Georgia’s Ansley Park neighborhood.

Who is Lonnie Johnson summary?

The Super Soaker®, a best-selling toy with lifetime sales of well over $1 billion, was created by engineer and businessman Lonnie Johnson. Energy technology has been the subject of Johnson’s extensive research, and his development of an eco-friendly heat pump led to the creation of his well-known toy.

What are 3 facts about Lonnie Johnson?

More than 250 patents are held by Johnson, the majority of them are for his Super Soaker. Johnson received both the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal. He was recognized by NASA with a number of honors for his work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory designing spaceship systems.

Who invented the first water gun?

Innovations in technology do not typically garner such praise. But the Super Soaker water gun was not created by someone else. It was Lonnie G. Johnson.

What is a quote from Lonnie Johnson?

You have to put in the necessary work and make sacrifices on your own if you don’t have a lot of money. It’s difficult to be an independent inventor. You create a product, file a patent on it, and then you search for a user of the technology. You take on all of the risk and investment.

What were the challenges of Lonnie Johnson?

Johnson returned to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1987 after having trouble locating a producer for the water pistol. He worked on the Cassini mission to Saturn and the Mars Observer spacecraft, where his responsibility was to ensure that all systems were redundant.

What did Lonnie Johnson love?

Young Lonnie Johnson enjoyed creating toys, such as his award-winning robot. His lifetime passion for invention allowed him to advance energy technology, make spacecraft safer, and make summer a little bit more enjoyable for a lot of people.

What is Lonnie Johnson’s character trait?

Although Lonnie Johnson possesses a variety of virtues, his diligence—or perseverance—helped him develop a fantastic innovation.


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