Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller, 1895 - 1983
US 37-cent stamp (issued 12 July 2004)
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.
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Buckminster Fuller quotes:
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- A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist. permalink
- All human advances occur in the outlaw area. permalink
- All of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly — right now. permalink
Critical Path (1981)
- All sports are time control demonstrations. permalink
4D Timelock (1928)
- Are you spontaneously enthusiastic about everyone having everything you can have? permalink
Critical Path (1981)
- Call intuition cosmic fishing. You feel a nibble, then you've got to hook the fish. permalink
- Call me Trimtab permalink
- Children are born true scientists. They spontaneously experiment and experience and reexperience again. They select, combine, and test, seeking to find order in their experiences — "which is the mostest? which is the leastest?" They smell, taste, bite, and touch; test for hardness, softness, springiness, roughness, smoothness, coldness, warmness; they heft, shake, punch, squeeze, push, crush, rub, and try to pull things apart. permalink
- Dare to be naive. permalink
- Dictators never invent their own opportunities. permalink
- Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is typical of humanity. Precession — not conscious planning — provides a productive outcome for misguided political and military campaigns. permalink
Cosmography: A Posthumous Scenario for the Future of Humanity (1992)
- Don't fight forces, use them. permalink
- Don't try to make me consistent. I am learning all the time. permalink
- Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic. permalink
4D Timelock (1928)
- Either war is obsolete or men are. permalink
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