Over $10, we aren’t going to be able to sell it. The next Thursday, he showed up in Philadelphia holding a battered pink Samsonite suitcase that contained his gun. What that means is, we were a low-end toy company that made Dollar-Store-type products. They’re these things with giant orange nozzles, and they’re made to look like these space-alien things. Chris Bensch, vice president of collections at the Strong Museum of Play, home of the National Toy Hall of Fame: I have to say, Lonnie Johnson is probably the most seriously overqualified toy inventor I can think of. Now, though, the consensus seems to be that any modifications should be rather modest, as you wouldn’t want to compromise the integrity of the weapon, which isn’t necessarily built to hold more water pressure. And amazingly, it did exactly what it said it would do. It outperformed everything out there, and that was empowering as a kid. Every year we added new Super Soaker models to our line. Unfortunately toy departments have gone away and morphed, and certainly with there being no more Toys R Us, with this vast acreage of toys, that retail shelf space has become much more competitive, especially for a seasonal toy, whereas something like Nerf sells year-round. It was back in 2005, I’d gotten a call from Brian Jablonski from the Super Soaker team to do the sculpture of the Oozinator, which he’d already done a design drawing for. For one, it’s a contra-seasonal business — that means that whereas most of the toy business is centered around Christmas, we were off the toy shelves by September. Really, it’s just this year that the organization is beginning to take shape the way I’ve envisioned and I’m working on developing a. program from it. Hemingway: I was about 11 when I was involved in my first big, neighborhood-wide water-gun battle. He had ample justification for being sad because he had spent the last five years trying to interest toy companies in his invention without any luck. In 1989, Larami was the least likely toy company to suddenly dominate the summertime, but thanks to a fateful meeting at the NY Toy Fair, that’s exactly what came to be. I have to say, I give Larami props for taking a chance on this prototype that Lonnie was shopping around and was getting turned down by place after place. You know, the ones under $5 or usually under $1. Originally, it was called the. They were phenomenal. You got it right away — you immediately understood why this was going to revolutionize your backyard water battles. When I joined Larami in 1993, Super Soaker was still going strong. Larami also created TV advertising that made it visibly compelling. The Nerf-Super Soaker partnership provides our fans with the best of both blaster worlds. As soon as I saw the commercial, though, I went out and bought one. My secretary said, “Well, the guy’s here. We’ve even done some in the dead of winter where, of course, no one wants to get shot by a blast of water. There was a quick rebranding early on, too. In 2011 I started hosting a water gun fight in Central Park. He was about to give up, but someone had suggested he talk to us. I remember that first commercial they did where this kid was dressed just like The Terminator with the leather outfit — that was all I needed. What was the next direction for us? The first year, in 1990, we produced the Super Soaker 50. In the next years post-Larami, the Super Soaker brand seemed to struggle somewhat… It wasn’t until 2005 when the Super Soaker line featured some new models that water-blaster aficionados made note of, namely the Super Soaker Flash Flood and the Super Soaker Triple Shot…. Prime. That’s definitely the weirdest Super Soaker ever. , with this vast acreage of toys, that retail shelf space has become much more competitive, especially for a seasonal toy, whereas something like Nerf sells year-round. the Oozinator, which isn’t the same thing. Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, a biography for young readers: Lonnie Johnson grew up in Mobile, Alabama. We’ve got half a million items in our collection, and every year, we draw almost 600,000 guests to our site in Rochester, New York. The Super Soaker 50 was the first Super Soaker water gun, introduced in 1991. Brian De La Cruz, organizer of Waterfight NYC: In 2011 I started hosting a water gun fight in Central Park. You got it right away — you immediately understood why this was going to revolutionize your backyard water battles. I have CPS 2000s in my house today that, When they moved things up to Rhode Island, myself and a guy named Harry Flynn were the last employees of Larami from the old days. . Why Are Tube Sites Suddenly Filled With… Porm? What that means is, we were a low-end toy company that made Dollar-Store-type products. Trettel: Super Soaker fandom has a few different aspects to it. So as a young, African-American inventor, Johnson certainly wasn’t made to feel welcome, and yet, he won that science fair. “Smart and insightful reported features about modern masculinity.”, “@WeAreMel is phenomenal ... the best outlet covering digital culture today.”, “I just laughed out loud for a solid five minutes.”, “The rare men’s magazine that has taken upon itself to investigate masculinity, not enforce it. In 1982 he had an idea for a cooling system for refrigerators and air conditioners that would use water and air pressure instead of freon, which is a dangerous, polluting chemical. Hands down, the best Super Soaker we ever made was the CPS 2000 in 1996. Now, when I visit children all over the world and tell them about the Super Soaker and how it was invented by a black man, it serves as a major source of inspiration, especially to children of color. Alias(es) Up until that point, things hadn’t changed all that much since the Super Soaker 50. From a very early age he was a tinkerer; he loved taking things apart and putting them back together. My Christmas was always the Fourth of July, and I don’t know if Hasbro understood that. With us, there was really only one product. An Oral History of ‘Steamed Hams,’ the Funniest ‘Simpsons’ Scene Ever Recorded, Let the Pundit Class Finally Feel a Little Shame, We’ve Lost the Healthy (and Attainable) Middle Ground of Exercise. When those first drawings came in, the concept was to make it look like the movie. Though it was conceived in 1982 and wouldn’t hit the market until 1990, it was in February 1989 when NASA engineer Lonnie Johnson first met with the toy company Larami to pitch his idea for a … I love this event because it’s something that everybody can do. and no one was going to beat them. It was a pretty “macho” environment in that you had to say your piece or get out. We handed things off and went our separate ways. 2009 was the disappearance of the “Super Soaker” brand, replaced now with “Nerf Super Soaker.” Borrowing heavily from the stylistic elements found in Nerf dart guns, the new Nerf Super Soaker line brought a more technical, serious look to the water blaster line, [though it] appears to continue the trend of sacrificing performance for styling. From what I understood, we were the second most profitable division of Hasbro, second only to.
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