Today in History: Inventor Lonnie G. Johnson – More Than Just the Super Soaker


Engineer and inventor Lonnie G. Johnson was born in Alabama October 6th, 1949. After graduating from Tuskegee University with a master’s degree in Nuclear Engineering, Johnson joined the U.S. Air Force. He was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, where he helped develop the stealth bomber program. His other assignments included working as a systems engineer for the Galileo mission to Jupiter and the Cassini mission to Saturn. On Oct. 16, 1984, Johnson received a patent for thermal energy accumulation – pressurized fluid-powered thermodynamic heat pump.

Although he is best known for inventing the Super Soaker squirt gun, Johnson has continued his work in the energy sector. He owns and operates Johnson ElectroMechanical Systems (JEMS) with a focus on developing alternative energy generation technologies to meet tomorrow’s energy needs. And Excellatron Solid State, LLC, a U.S. based technology company, introducing innovative and enabling energy storage technology. Johnson currently holds over 80 patents.

Source: CNN

20 Black Inventions Over The Last 100 Years You May Not Know


Lewis Latimer (1848 – 1928)

What He Invented: The Carbon Filament For The Light Bulb.

Why It’s Important: Latimer is one of the greatest inventors of all time. Thomas Edison may have invented the electric lightbulb, but Latimer helped make it a common feature in American households. In 1881 he received a patent for inventing a method of producing carbon filaments, which made the bulbs longer-lasting, more efficient and cheaper.

In 1876, he worked with Alexander Graham Bell to draft the drawings required for the patent of Bell’s telephone.


Elijah McCoy (1844-1929)

What He Invented: A Railroad Lubrication Machine.

Why It’s Important: McCoy, who was from Canada, invented a lubrication device to make railroad operation more efficient. After studying the inefficiencies inherent in the existing system of oiling axles, McCoy invented a lubricating cup that distributed oil evenly over the engine’s moving parts. He obtained a patent for this invention in 1872, which allowed trains to run continuously for long periods of time without pausing for maintenance.


Henry Brown

What He Invented: The Modern-Day Fireproof Safe

Why It Is Important: When Henry Brown patented a “receptacle for storing and preserving papers on November 2, 1886”  This was a fire and accident safe container made of forged metal, which could be sealed with a lock and key. Anyone who has ever had important documents stored in a safe and saved in a fire can thank Brown.


Granville T. Woods (1856-1910)

What He Invented: The Multiplex Telegraph.

Why It’s Important: The Multiplex Telegraph was a device that sent messages between train stations and moving trains. His work assured a safer and better public transportation system for the cities of the United States.

5 Interesting Topics You Have To Be a Blerd To Appreciate

1. The Author of  ‘The Three Musketeers’ Was a Black Man
During the mid- to late 1800s, Alexandre Dumas rose to literary fame as one of France’s most prolific writers. He wrote alluring and adventurous tales. His novels were filled with descriptions of picturesque French landscapes and deadly sword fights. His most notable novel The Three Musketeers has boasted over 100 film adaptations. His other well-known novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, is loosely based on his father General Alex Dumas, who had a reported rivalry with Napoleon Bonaparte.

2.Why Lonnie Johnson is One of the Coolest Inventors

Lonnie Johnson, African-American engineer and entrepreneur, is a dynamic inventor who has made significant contributions to NASA space travel, but Blerds can’t ignore the impact one of his inventions has had on children worldwide. ABC news reported that in 1982, Johnson was  working on building a heat pump when he attached a nozzle to the end of the pump, which he connected to his bathroom sink.

Immediately water blasted across the room and the Super Soaker was born. In 1990, the Super Soaker hit the market and garnered much success. Since the invention of the Super Soaker, water fights have never been the same.

3.Why Raze From ‘Underworld ‘ is Our Favorite Werewolf

If you’re a fan of the Underworld film series then you are probably a huge fan of Raze, the big, booming and ferocious Lycan. Raze played by Kevin Grevioux, not only had a significant role in the successful franchise, but Grevioux also wrote the original screenplay for the first film. His creativity and love for science fiction did not stop there.

According to Shadow and Act the Howard University graduate, who majored in microbiology, wrote and executive produced the sci-fi film, I, Frankenstein, released earlier this year.

4.Why ‘Sharknado 2’ is Worth Watching

Blerds everywhere know that Sharknado 2: The Second One is far from cinematic excellence, with its questionable blue screen graphics and its equally subpar script. However, you know you were one of the 3.87 million viewers glued to your flat screens on July 30 to watch the Syfy channel original movie. Do you regret watching the sequel? No. In fact there were some memorable moments that made you feel better about watching the film. Two moments in particular were cameos by two rap legends.

You may have cringed, bust out in laughter or both when you saw Pepa, from the ’90s rap duo Salt-N- Pepa attempt to escape impending danger from flying sharks while riding a bicycle. You definitely rooted for Biz Markie when he went from an ordinary cook to a knife-wielding shark killer. Either way after those two appeared you felt a little better about tuning in.

5. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the Ultimate Blerd
If you are true Blerd then you consider Neil deGrasse Tyson Blerd royalty. The Bronx, N.Y.-bred astrophysicist removed Pluto as the ninth planet.

In true blerd fashion, Tyson argued that the “dwarf planet” doesn’t share the proper criteria to be given  “planet” status. To add to his awesomeness,  he currently hosts the 12-time Emmy-nominated series, Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey.