DDU

The Lost Inventions of Buckminster Fuller – Kindle Edition

Buckminster Fuller is widely known as the inventor of the geodesic dome, tensegrity, the Dymaxion Dwelling Unit and more. The Lost Inventions of Buckminster Fuller brings Fuller’s role in all of these discoveries into question, while presenting hard evidence that he is under-credited for many other remarkable inventions.

Trevor Blake (author of The Buckminster Fuller Bibliography) is a leading independent scholar on Fuller. Also found in this book are an analysis of geodesic dome integrity when subject to earthquakes, the influence on Fuller by Technocracy Incorporated, the influence of Fuller on the television program Lost, and much more.

US$ 1.99.

Buckminster Fuller Bibliography – Kindle Edition

The Buckminster Fuller Bibliography is the most complete and accurate bibliography of “Bucky” Fuller to date. Excellent tool for tracking Fuller’s trajectory, and for finding rare titles in the field for your own collection. Authored by Trevor Blake of synchronofile.com, an independent resource on Fuller consulted around the world. Updated for this Kindle edition.  US$ 1.99.

Dymaxion Deployment Units Still Standing

Dymaxion Deployment Unit circa 2000.

[An expanded, corrected and illustrated update of this article appears in The Lost Inventions of Buckminster Fuller.]

The Dymaxion Deployment Unit (sheet) is called a Building Construction in patent 2,343,764 (7 March 1944).  The Dymaxion Deployment Unit (frame) is called a Building Construction in patent 2,351,419 (13 June 1944).  Both of these patents were assigned to Dymaxion Company Inc.  Fuller was the Director and Chief Engineer of the Dymaxion Corporation.  Dymaxion World illustration 167 identifies the photograph on pages 54-55 of Inventions as having been taken in Haynes Point Park, Washington DC in April 1941.  The photograph on page 61 of Inventions appears again with an exterior shot in Dymaxion World images 163 and 164.  The photograph on page 68 includes Walter Sanders (head of the Department of Architecture at the University of Michigan) and his wife.  The couple lived in the DDU for an unspecified period of time according to Dymaxion WorldDymaxion World emphasizes that Fuller modified the roof of an existing grain bin, giving it a more curved surface.  This modification appears to be the basis for Fuller’s claim to inventing the Dymaxion Deployment Unit.

The existing grain bin that Fuller modified was manufactured by Butler Manufacturing, founded by Charles Butler and Emanuel Norquist. According to Butler Manufacturing:

R. Buckminster Fuller had gained international fame for his futuristic strategies and his concept of “maximum dynamic utility.” Fuller found inspiration in the design of Butler Manufacturing Company’s mass-produced grain bins. In their design he saw low-cost, easy-to-make, fast, demountable, and movable housing for military troops and their families. The mutual admiration and enthusiasm between Buckminster Fuller and Emanuel Norquist propelled the project through design, testing, government approval, and production tooling in a matter of months. The project was ready for action when the reins were suddenly yanked. Steel remained on allocation, and the government could not reasonably divert enough to support large contracts on these novel houses. A few hundred were put to use by the Army for medical operating rooms and Signal Corps housing, but orders were meager. However, through its connections with Mr. Fuller, Butler Manufacturing Company gained the confidence to push the rigid frame design to the limit, launching pre-engineered building systems into worldwide acceptance and favor.

Dymaxion Deployment Units were put to use by the United States Army in Alaska, the Middle East and Fort Monmouth in New Jersey.  The Fort Monmonth Command Historian maintains a copy of the U. S. Army manual on constructing a DDU.  A Dymaxion Deployment Unit is on the roof of the Myer Center at Fort Monmonth. Three other DDUs are on south side of building 9011B.  Two of the remaining DDUs are considered historic buildings.  At present there are no efforts to preserve these buildings.

More information and contemporary photographs can be found at the DDU page of InfoAge.

- Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010 DDU, rbf, shelter

Buckminster Fuller and the Twelfth of July

fullerburgess12july1933
Starling Burgess and R. Buckminster Fuller, Dymaxion Car. Modern Mechanix Magazine October 1933.

[An expanded, corrected and illustrated update of this article appears in The Lost Inventions of Buckminster Fuller.]

All of the following occurred on the twelfth of July…

1895 Richard Buckminster Fuller was born.
1910 Richard Buckminster Fuller Senior, Fuller’s father, died.
1917 Fuller married Anne Hewlett.
1933 Fuller completed Dymaxion Car #1.
1938-1939 ‘the main system of general education instruction to go on the air and screen’ according to Fuller’s book Nine Chains to the Moon.
1938 Roger Hewlett wrote a poem for Fuller titled One Chain to a Room.
1940 Fuller vacationed with Christopher Morley and conceived the Dymaxion Deployment Unit.
1957 a United States Marine Corps dome was lifted by helicopter from the deck of the USS Leyte.
1957 Fuller received an honorary doctorate from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri USA.
1966 Fuller lectured at a NASA Symposium at Southern Illinois University Institute of Technology in Carbondale, Illinois USA.
1967 the Montreal Biosphère was dedicated by Fuller to Anne as a wedding anniversary gift.
1969 the first Public World Game was played in New York City, New York USA.
1970 Fuller received an honorary doctorate from Columbia College in Chicago, Illinois USA.
1974 Matthew Meyerson wrote a haiku for Fuller in the Synergetics Cookbook.
1976 Fuller received and honorary doctorate from the University of New Mexico.
1980 John Cage wrote a poem about Buckminster Fuller.
[R. Buckminster Fuller died in 1983]
1984 a commemorative exhibit titled In Memoriam R B F was shown in Singapore.
1999 Your Private Sky: R. Buckminster Fuller edited by Joachim Krausse published.
2000 Ron Campbell performed Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco, California USA.
2003 the Artaud Theater in San Francisco hosted a Buckminster Fuller birthday tribute.
2004 the US Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Buckminster Fuller.
2008 Bucky’s Ge-Odyssey presented by The Center for Architecture Foundation in New York City, New York USA.
2008 synchronofile.com.

- Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009 books, DDU, domes, dymaxion, rbf, synchronofile, world game

Buckminster Fuller and the Homeless of New York

145 Ridge Street

[An expanded, corrected and illustrated update of this article appears in The Lost Inventions of Buckminster Fuller.]

If Buckminster Fuller is known for any effort, it is the effort to provide shelter.  But who did Fuller actually provide shelter for?  The Lightful House and 4D House existed only on paper.  The Dymaxion House existed only as a small scale model.  The Dymaxion (Wichita) House existed as two full-scale models (one internal, one external, neither able to be connected to the other).  The Dymaxion Deployment Unit did house US armed forces personnel – but the DDU was the invention of Victor C. Norquist, not Buckminster Fuller.  The geodesic dome was invented by Walter Bauersfeld who made a number of dome shelters.  Fuller never built a dome for sale as a shelter.  Of the dozens of books by and about Fuller, of the thousands of articles on his life and work, most of them fail to give a single instance of when Fuller actually provided shelter to anyone.  The Buckminster Fuller Bibliography by Trevor Blake is the first book to document that Fuller provided shelter for others with his own direct effort.

The New York Times for 10 September 1932 includes an uncredited article titled “Single Jobless Men to Get Lodging House / Social Worker and Engineer Obtain Use of Tenement for Those Ineligible for City Aid.”  The building in question was a then-deserted seven-story building located at 145 Ridge Street in New York City, New York.  The social worker was Ben Howe and the engineer was Buckminster Fuller.  Fuller is described as “editor of the magazine Shelter and head of Structural Study Associates, an engineering firm.”  According to the article, the men who were renovating the building were hoping to live in it afterward.  They were otherwise ineligible for benefits because they were not the head of a family.  The building was to house two hundred and fifty men at a time and serve several thousand during Winter.  Lieutenant R. E. Johnson was also involved in this project.  He is described as a “former army construction engineer and commander of the United States Ex-Service Men’s Association.”  At the time of the article, the shelter was under construction.  The building described in this article no longer exists.

The New York Times for 2 December 1932 includes an uncredited article titled “Jobless Veterans Back in Barracks / 300 Single Men to Live Under Military Rule in Converted Clubhouse in 54th St.”  The building in question was a five-story converted boy’s club at 340 East 54th Street in New York City, New York.  According to the article, the shelter would be run by and for veterans and in a military style.  The shelter would serve single men because of their difficulties in obtaining relief from existing services.  The plan was initiated by “a meeting of representatives of various interested organizations at the office of Raymond V. Ingersoll.”  Ingersoll served as a New York Parks Commissioner and as a Brooklyn Borough President.  A residential development named after Ingersoll stands today at 120 Navy Walk in Brooklyn, New York.  The representatives at the meeting included Ben Howe and Buckminster Fuller of the 145 Ridge Street shelter, Philip Hiss, Colonel Walter L. DeLamater, Arthur Huck, Louis Gleich, Owen R. Lovejoy, Cyrus C. Perry,  James R. Sichel and Henry C. Wright.  Philip Hiss went on to design and build homes in Florida, although he was not a trained architect.  Col. DeLamater served in the 71st Infantry Regiment, an organization of the New York State Guard.  Arthur Huck worked on numerous homeless shelter projects in the New York area, as reported in decades of articles found in the New York Times. Louis Gleich was a commander in the New York County Council of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and was the chairman of the committee that erected a VFW monument in Union Square.  Owen Lovejoy served as the General Secretary of the Nationial Child Labor Committee.  The building formerly house the Kips Bay Boys’ Club, where Lovejoy served as secretary.  The building was to be called Veterans Cantonment No. 1.  At the time of the article, the shelter was in operation.  The building described in this article may still exist, but as the building next to the one that currently is designated as 340 East 54th Street.

By 1932, Buckminster Fuller had published drawings of his 4D House and exhibited models of his Dymaxion House.  He had been featured in the Chicago Evening Post, Fortune Magazine, the Harvard Crimson, Modern Mechanics Magazine, the New York Times and Time Magazine.  Fuller had published his monograph 4D and was publishing Shelter Magazine.  He had earned the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade in the United States Navy.  In 1933 Fuller would begin work on the Dymaxion Car.

What makes these shelters distinct from any other that Fuller was involved with was that they provided actual shelter to actual men.  While they do not have the glamor that Fuller’s Dymaxion House and other creations had, they hold the advantage by having existed. Giving a new purpose to an existing structure was an idea that Fuller seldom developed but never abandoned. In his 1970 book I Seem to Be a Verb, Fuller wrote: “Our beds are empty two-thirds of the time. Our living rooms are empty seven-eights of the time. Our office buildings are empty one-half of the time. It‘s time we gave this some thought.”

- Trevor Blake

Trevor Blake is the author of the Buckminster Fuller Bibliography, available at synchronofile.com

Reference:

71st Infantry Regiment (New York). 1 April 2009. Wikipedia. 22 May 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/71st_Infantry_Regiment_(New_York)

Davis, Edwards: “Advocates the Standardizing of Industry by Law.” New York Times [New York City, New York] 27 July 1913: SM14

Fuller, R. Buckminster. I Seem to Be a Verb. New York: Bantam Books, 1970.

Ingersoll, Raymond V. Houses. 2009. New York City Housing Authority. 22 May 2009. http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/html/developments/bklyningersoll.shtml

“Louis Gleich, 69, Dies.” New York Times [New York City, New York] 26 Sept 1961: 39.

“Philip H. Hiss 3d, 78, Designer of Buildings.” New York Times [New York City, New York]
4 November 1988: B4.

Sieden, Lloyd S. Buckminster Fuller’s Universe. Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 1989.

Friday, May 22nd, 2009 4d, DDU, domes, dymaxion, geodesic, rbf, shelter, synchronofile