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Information Pre-Super Soaker ® History

With Input from LB and JZ.

Pre-Amble

This article cannot and does not attempt to cover all aspects of water gun history. Instead, this article looks primarily at Larami Corp. water gun products evolution from the early 1970s to the launch of the Super Soaker brand in 1991. For those interested in a few more glimpses from the history of all water guns, please see the Oldest Known Water Guns / Water Blasters page.

Back in the Day

Dave Ring was the founder and initial owner of Larami Corp.; he started the business in 1947 after he returned from the war. Larami Corp. initially began strictly as a rack toy company. Basically, all early products produced by Larami Corp. were presented and sold off of either wall-mounted or free-standing toy racks in stores with products mounted on cardboard backings or packaged in poly-bags. While Larami was in business long before the 1970s, we (iSoaker.com) presently only know its toy product history starting from around 1971. Many toys sold then used notable brand names from popular comic strips and cartoons of the time. Looking back, it is somewhat surprising to see how many popular licenses Larami Corp. had rights to.

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Water gun packages from the 1971 Larami Corp. toy catalog.

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Water guns available as detailed in a 1973 Larami Corp. toy catalog.

Larami Corp. Sold

Sometime around 1974, Larami Corp. was sold to Tasty Baking Company, manufacturer of TastyCakes! While most water guns during this time were still trigger-based squirt pistols, there was one notable innovation: the crank-based Blue Max Water Chopper water gun.

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Crank-based water gun (Blue Max Water Chopper); Larami Corp. circa 1978

Repurchased and Rebirth

Nevertheless, things were not going so smoothly for Larami Corp. Apparently, while the Tasty Baking Company owned Larami Corp. for roughly 7 years, they ended up almost running it into the ground. In the fall of 1981, Dave Ring (the original owner) and two others, Myung Song and Al Davis, who both worked at Larami Corp. before its acquisition purchased Larami Corp. back. Dave Ring simply did not want the Larami name tarnished in the toy industy.  Interestingly, while Larami Corp. continued to produce a number of other toys, their focus on water guns appeared to steadily grow.

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First notable larger-piston-based water gun (middle), albeit basically a syringe being sold as a water toy (from 1982 Larami Corp. catalog)
Also note the multi-directional water gun (Fat Albert Snake Water Gun) on the right.

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First notable larger all-black water gun (from 1983 Larami Corp. catalog)

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First notable motorized water gun (Electronic Uzi Water Machinegun) from Larami Corp. (1985 catalog);
also note the pump-action water gun (Uzi Pump and Sound Water Gun)

The appearance of the Electronic Uzi Water Machinegun by Larami Corp. occurred during the time Entertech was dominating the motorized water gun business (starting around 1986). The motorized Uzi by Larami Corp. actually appeared to function better than comparable Entertech models, but as Entertech had a number of extremely popular commercials and were well known, fewer were familiar with the Larami motorized line.

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First notable large pump-action water cannon styles strictly for functionality (from 1986 Larami Corp. catalog)

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Smaller motorized Uzi Water Machine Pistol (from 1986 Larami Corp. catalog)

Continue Reading in Part 2 >>

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