NASA Engineer Overcomes Prejudice, Creates Famous Toy
The state of Alabama in the United States has a very strong history of racial segregation. Therefore, many films that deal with the theme usually have the state as scenery. Now imagine the story of a black boy, born in Alabama in 1949. All to be another negative statistic about racism and intolerance, right? But Loonie Johnson has managed to meet all the challenges, become a NASA engineer, and become known worldwide for inventing a toy that is still a hit with kids today: the water gun, known as the Super Soaker in the United States.
Engineer and scientist, before inventing the pistol that would make him known, Loonie worked on bold NASA projects, such as researching nuclear energy as fuel for a mission that aimed to reach Jupiter. But who knew that it would be with a toy that Loonie would stand out the most?
Anyone who has met the young man ensures that he always had the mind of an inventor. As a child, he was able to build a go-kart from scratch and the debut "roll" only came to an end when the cart was stopped by police. A little older, Loonie created his first robot, Linux, in 1968. The robot was presented at a Junior Engineering fair at the University of Alabama. He was the first black student at the University.
Throughout her life, Loonie has filed over 120 patents. Creations that emerged while still at NASA before and after it.
Super Soaker came about after a super-scientific experiment: Loonie was testing a new type of refrigeration that would use water instead of chemicals. To perform the test, the engineer plugged a mechanized nozzle into the bathroom sink faucet, which caused a large jet of water to come out of the room. Ready. The idea of the water gun was beginning to dawn. According to Loonie himself, quite accidentally.
That was in 1982. The idea was so lucrative that, in 1991 alone, Super Soaker made over $ 200 million. To this day the toy appears in the rankings of the best toys in the world.