(Roughly) Daily

“Looky now. Water. Gun?”*…

 

(R)D has taken a look at the best water pistols of all time; now, a more considered look at their history…

The water gun followed the chronological arc of the sports card and the comic book: it existed for decades upon decades, largely unchanged, and then the 1990s — the decade that paved over everything, and has since itself been paved over like the cut-rate, busted-up Quikrete it was — got its hands on it. These things mutated into garish, sardonic commentaries of themselves…

It was the Super Soaker (which went on sale in the summer of 1989) that changed everything:

It was a borderline miracle: a water gun that actually worked. After 50 or so years of nonsense, someone finally bothered to invent an actual decent gun. That someone is Lonnie Johnson, who helped invent the stealth bomber and later joined NASA to help send a probe to Jupiter, but all that junk comes after the table of contents in his Wikipedia entry. The lede is all about the Super Soaker… Its success inspired an arsenal of increasingly weird and even-less-necessary water guns…

More at “The stupid history of water guns.”

* “Stripe,” Gremlins 6

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As we fill ’em up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1849 that Lewis Phectic Haslett was granted the first patent for a gas mask.  In fact, Haslett was building on a long tradition: the ancient Greeks used sponges as make-shift gas masks, and the Banu Musa brothers in Baghdad described a rudimentary gas mask (for protecting workers in polluted wells) in their wonder-full 9th century Book of Ingenious Devices.  Still, Haslett’s creation was the forerunner of the modern gas mask.

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Written by LW

June 12, 2015 at 1:01 am

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