Lonnie Johnson (inventor)

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Lonnie George Johnson
Born (1949-10-06) October 6, 1949 (age 66)[1]
Mobile, Alabama, United States
Occupation Engineer, Inventor
Known for Super Soaker

Lonnie George Johnson (born October 6, 1949 in Mobile, Alabama) is an African American inventor and engineer who holds more than 80 patents.[2] Johnson is most 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.[3]

Early life[edit]

Johnson attended an all-black high school "Williamson High School".[4] He earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Tuskegee University.


After college, Johnson joined the U.S. Air Force, where he helped develop the stealth bomber program.[5] Later, he worked at NASA on Galileo's mission to Jupiter.[6] More recently, he teamed up with scientists from Tulane University and Tuskegee University to develop a method of transforming heat into electricity with the goal of making green energy more affordable.[6]

Two of Johnson’s companies, Excellatron Solid State and Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems (JEMS), are developing technology. Excellatron is introducing thin film batteries, a new generation of rechargeable battery technology. JEMS has developed the Johnson Thermo-Electrochemical Converter System (JTEC), listed by Popular Mechanics as one of the top 10 inventions of 2009. JTEC has potential applications in solar power plants and ocean thermal power generation. It converts thermal energy to electrical energy using a non-steam process which works by pushing hydrogen ions through two membranes, with significant advantages over alternative systems. The companies operate a research laboratory in the Sweet Auburn neighborhood of Atlanta.[7]


Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ Broad, William J. Engineer At Play: Lonnie Johnson -Rocket Scientist, Served Up Soggy, July 31, 2001, The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Lonnie Johnson". TEDxAtlanta (TED). 2014-05-06. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  3. ^ "Lonnie George Johnson". Biography.com (A&E Television Networks). 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  4. ^ Ward, Logan (November 2010). "Shooting for the Sun". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  5. ^ "Summer Inventions: A NASA Engineer Created the Super Soaker?!". Biography.com (A&E Television Networks). 2014-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-25. 
  6. ^ a b "Who Made That Super Soaker?". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). 2013-08-02. Retrieved 2014-07-25.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  7. ^ Wheeler, Candace (July 16, 2015). "Super Soaker Inventor Now Engineers Batteries At Atlanta Lab". WABE. Retrieved July 31, 2015. 

General references[edit]

External links[edit]