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African American inventor Lonnie Johnson has worked extensively with the U.S. Air Force and NASA on such impressive projects as the Galileo Jupiter probe and the Mars Observer. This famous black inventor has received a nomination for astronaut training and holds more than 40 U.S. patents.
However, Johnson's most well known invention is pure child's play. In 1982, a home experiment involving a heat pump that used water instead of freon led Johnson to invent the Power Drencher, the precursor to the infamous Super Soaker® squirt gun. The powerful squirt gun made Johnson one of the 20th-century's most financially successful black inventors.