Lonnie George Johnson (born October 6, 1949 in Mobile, Alabama) is an American engineer. Johnson invented the Super Soaker water gun, which was the top selling toy in the United States in 1991 and 1992. Johnson holds a B.S in Mechanical Engineering and a M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Tuskegee University.
In 1989 Johnson formed his own engineering firm and licensed the Super Soaker water gun to Larami Corporation. Two years later the Super Soaker generated over $200 million in retail sales and became the best selling toy in America. Larami Corporation was eventually purchased by Hasbro, the second largest toy manufacturer in the world. Over the years, Super Soaker sales have totaled close to one billion dollars. Johnson reinvested a majority of his earnings from the Super Soaker into research and development for his energy technology companies – “It’s who I am, it’s what I do.” Currently, Johnson holds over 80 patents, with over 20 more pending, and is the author of several publications on spacecraft power systems.
Two of Johnson’s companies, Excellatron Solid State and Johnson Electro-Mechanical Systems (JEMS), are developing energy 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.