It was a “classic situation” for an inventor, says Lonnie Johnson of the moment in 1989 when he waited nervously for a meeting with toy executives at Larami, a pink Samsonite suitcase on his lap. Inside the suitcase was a new kind of water gun. Instead of a pistol that piddled out a thin stream, this toy was engineered to spray water dozens of feet. “I had bought a milling machine and made all of the parts myself out of PVC pipe and Plexiglas,” Johnson says. “Even the valves — I made those too.”
As a child of the 80s, I have a deep affection for the Super Soaker. I also have a deep affection for pink Samsonite suitcases.