Original Prototypes

Schöne Story über die Original-Prototypen von ikonographischen Gadgets auf Wired, die ich auf der Reise nach Los Angeles im Flieger in der Print-Ausgabe vom September gelesen habe, aus irgendeinem Grund muss ich immer totes Holz kaufen, wenn ich irgendwo hinfahre oder -fliege. Ist so ein Reflex.

Das da oben ist die erste Super Soaker, die Wasserpistole, die damals das Ende aller anderen Wasserpistolen war. Ich hatte auch eine, so ziemlich sofort, als die bei uns rauskam.

Lonnie Johnson was trying to build a better refrigerator, based on a low-cost heat pump that circulated water instead of Freon. But when one of his custom-machined brass nozzles blasted a stream of water across his bathroom, Johnson—by day an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory—realized he had the makings of something way more fun. A shotgun-style air pump and a series of check valves allowed for sniperlike range and accuracy with little exertion. Selling the idea to toy companies, though, was more of an effort. After seven years of frustration, Johnson scrapped his difficult-to-manufacture Plexiglas “pressure containment vessel” for an empty 2-liter soda bottle. It wasn’t slick, but it was easy to make. In 1990, the toy maker Larami brought the Power Drencher to store shelves; it sold roughly 2 million of them in the first year alone. Rebranded as the Super Soaker, the line has raked in sales of more than $200 million to date.

Original Models: A Look at Iconic Tech Prototypes (via Make)