How a NASA Engineer Came Up with the Idea for the Super Soaker

Aired on 11/01/1999 | CC tv-pg
As a kid, Alabama native Lonnie Johnson was a tinkerer who enjoyed building things and taking them apart. Naturally, Lonnie was excited about becoming an engineer, but after taking an aptitude test, he received results that suggested he do otherwise. Undaunted, Lonnie pushed forward in his education, receiving a master's degree in engineering and taking a dream job at NASA. There, he worked on some of the agency's most well-known projects, including the Mars Observer and Galileo spacecrafts.

Despite Lonnie's impressive career accomplishments, however, he will probably always best be known as the inventor of the Super Soaker water gun, which was one of the top-selling summer toys of the '90s. Here, during his 1999 Oprah Show appearance, he reveals how the million-dollar idea came to him while working on a project at home in his spare time.