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Information Pre-Super Soaker ® History (Part 2)

With Input from LB and JZ.

The Pinnacle of the Motorized Water Gun Era

The year 1987 likely marks the pinnacle year for realistically-styled motorized water weaponry offered by Larami Corp. Not only had their overall water gun line expanded, but they even devoted a separate toy catalog for their realistically-styled gun toys (both water guns as well as cap-guns).

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Cover from the 1987 Larami Corp. special toy weaponry catalog

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Notable new-for-1987 realistically-styled motorized water guns (from 1987 Larami Corp. catalogs)

Abuse, New Laws, but New Water Guns as Well

Sadly, for the realistically-styled water gun-loving crowd, these toys were not being used for play. Miscreants came to realize that it is much cheaper to buy a real-looking toy gun to intimidate and rob other people and even banks as opposed to needing to try and acquire an actual firearm. Moreover, some law enforcement members, thinking their safety may be in danger, mistakenly fired upon individuals carrying only toy guns. As a result, new laws and manufacturing regulations began appearring, requiring toy guns to either have a blaze-orange end-cap and/or be coloured in a bold, bright colour scheme. The resulting water toys in the 1988 Larami Corp. catalog show the obvious result of these regulations.

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Purple and orange colouring schemes introduced in 1988 (from a 1988 Larami Corp. catalog)

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Mostly-black could still be used for obvious toy water guns such as this bike-mounted water gun (from a 1988 Larami Corp. catalog)

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Other interesting development in water gun technology: spring-loaded water guns (from a 1988 Larami Corp. catalog)
Extra-long clips were used both to increase capacity and to differentiate the toys' shapes from real guns.

However, blaze-orange tips and some styling differences alone were not considered enough to ensure that these toy guns would not be mistaken as real ones. In 1989, solid bright flourescent colouring-schemes and more distinctive, non-realistic designs were introduced.

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New water guns for 1989 (from a 1989 Larami Corp. catalog)

The Makings of a Water Gun Revolution

It should be noted that it was also during this time period that Dr. Lonnie Johnson showed off his prototype water gun to the Larami Corp. executives after his dealings with Entertech failed to proceed further. Entertech, itself, once the sweetheart of the motorized water gun world, found itself facing various financial problems no doubt in part due to the new negativity towards their once iconic well-known realistic water gun line.

In 1990, Larami Corp. unveiled the Power Drencher to limited fanfare. Of course, in 1991, rebranding the line to the name, Super Soaker, combined with a full set of TV commercials to tout this revolutionary water gun changed the water warfare world ever since.

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Super Soaker Product Catalog 1991
Continue to the History of the Super Soaker page >>

After-Thoughts

Despite the early success of the Super Soaker line, it is interesting to note that Larami Corp. continued to develop other water guns as well, becoming the most widely sold manufacturer of water weaponry. Larami Corp.'s water gun line appeared to expand to a maximum number of models in 1993 during the height of the Super Soaker phenomenon. Below are just some of the other water guns produced by Larami Corp. for 1993. Ironically, Larami Corp. ended up becoming its own greatest competitor until it was purchased by Hasbro Inc. in 1995, becoming Larami Corp. The Larami name was finally retired in 2002.

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