Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller, 1895 - 1983

portrait of Buckminster Fuller
US 37-cent stamp (issued 12 July 2004)
876

Born: 12 July 1895, Milton, Massachusetts
Died: 1 July 1983, Los Angeles, California

Fuller spent much of his youth on Bear Island in Penobscot Bay off the coast of Maine. In school he had trouble with geometry, unable to comprehend the abstractions involved but became a certified machinist and mastered sheet metal and other materials. He prepped at Milton Academy, then in 1912 he represented the fifth generation of Fullers accepted at Harvard, but probably the first to be expelled from that school. Twice. He worked in Canada as a mechanic in a textile mill, served in the US Navy in World War I, and worked in meat packing. He married Anne Hewlett in 1917 and developed the Stockade Building System for light-weight fireproof housing with Anne's father, but the business failed. At age 32 he was bankrupt, living in low-income public housing at Chicago, his daughter had died, and he took to drink and even contemplated suicide. In 1927 he resolved to think independently and seek "ways of doing more with less to the end that all people everywhere can have more and more". He designed the "Dymaxion house", the "Dymaxion car", and while teaching at Bennington College in 1945, Bucky built the first models of the geodesic dome. Not original to Fuller, he was the first to make it practical. By turns he was an inventor, architect, author, mathematician, economist, philosopher, and poet. He taught at several colleges, but mostly he thought about things and carefully logged his thinking. He was awarded 28 patents and numerous honorary doctorates. At the end of his life his wife was comatose, dying of cancer. During a visit he suddenly exclaimed "She is squeezing my hand", he stood, had a heart attack, and died an hour later, she followed the next day. They had been married 66 years, he was 87.

Biography from Wikipedia and Whitney Museum of American Art

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