EIK - Session 11 Part 5
And, so there are looms, and there are a series of machines and things to go through. At the cotton mills they have what they call "doffing." So you fill you are winding things up in rolls, in early times just getting sort of a blanket of the carted cotton and then that blanket goes over to slubbers and blankets are pulled, once you get the fibers getting together, you keep sort of pulling them apart, and they are brought into slubbers, into sort of ropish, very soft ropes, and those gradually get into the point where you get into twistings and then get into your threads and so forth. Now, you continually are loading machines, and then taking off product, and then moving onto the next machine. So this is "doffing." And they have all kinds of wagons and containers that receive the product, at the machines when it gets full, and the attendants have to watch those, and then they get those over to the next machine and load it onto the next phase of the process to be finally weaving and making a product.
So, what I saw, the biggest part of the labor really going on was the "doffing" and moving things around, and the machines were getting to the point where they were highly automated. They used to have attendants there all the time really watching this thread would break, and all of that was being well, well licked beautiful automation being done in relation to all kinds of problems.
So what I developed with them was a cotton mill where, used the, as in the building of a ship and you go in the engine room you see men walking on like fire escape kind of operation where you only have mount you only have support of the machine where the machine is, you don't have a lot of floor. In other words you don't have to have a concrete floor out here for the airplane motor. You have it designed so it goes right onto the plane at the right place, you know how to carry your strength forward to that machine, so you don't have sort of a general floor. But I found there was again, in the general factory and the general engineering, the way they just want a general floor and you could put the machinery anywhere. This made you way over build your floors because machinery loads, 200 pounds a square foot as against the live loads of human beings of 40 and 50 pounds a square foot. So, what I did was to develop then, the octahedron-tetrahedron truss floors and they are full of holes, of course. And we mounted our machinery radially rather than in parallel banks. It was very easy, really made it very nice going in between them, and the product from the the machines were successive so using gravity the product came down out of the machine on this deck and came through in the machine down below. We were able to aim everything that way, so it was amazing that I was able to get a completely "doffing" proof mill. And you could really have very beautiful air conditioning of the whole because there is aeronautics of a total spherical plenary chamber where things really behaved beautifully. Air conditioning in rectilinear rooms such as we are in is very difficult to accomplish but in a plenary chamber you get just remember the form of that Bikini bomb, it just became a geodesic dome, this is the form that it takes, so that as you have heats rising, it just goes like that, it is involuting or evoluting, it will always be the domical form, so this is a very natural form of plenary chamber.
So we have then the machinery lined up this way and we had the minimum surface for the most volume so the heat gains and losses would be greatly improved, and finally we had it actually coming out of the bottom, and you just really took away actually manufactured end products. And there was nothing wrong with it I assure you. The best engineers in the game studied everything we had here. And there was really no fault with this at all. But it is a sad matter, that the cotton mill industry is one that is really run almost entirely on statistics today, and there is no management around that looks into it is really working against labor and just they have things punching completely automated, computerized reporting. And the stockholders are living somewhere around the world and they simply get their dividends, and there is no management that is really interested in improving the process more they are really leaving it up to the local engineers on the local machinery, but nobody is thinking of it comprehensively anymore.
I found that even though I knew some of the leaders in the cotton mill world, there was no they thought that it was opening up much too much of a problem, but there was really a possibility of instituting really a very, very improved kind of a mill. I felt as mills did go to other countries, and weaving is such an important matter, that this is a form that you can do many things with what I just did here, but it was a generalization of using gravity for the automation, and using the open truss. And we had the truss really only go where the machinery was, and where there were walk ways for the men, but we didn't put things where they didn't need any support at all.
Next picture please. Then this was the truss the dome we made at the University of Minnesota. And it was an extremely lovely, lovely dome and we used then very fine woods, and it was very much like making snow shoes, a lovely kind of those used, the light, delicate cross section, pretty much like the tale end of the snow shoe, and they were using, used Dacron cables and so forth, and produced again those diamond I gave you the diamond raft form.
Next picture please because I would like to see more of the dome itself. There you can see one of those rafts this big diamond raft, with parallel members in it as a truss, and it came out very, very light. And we got into some beautiful production skills and setting up the jigging for it. This particular dome we then did produce at the University of Minnesota. It then was on exhibition on the campus for a little while. Then I was asked to take to do something at Aspen, Colorado, in 1951 I was asked to give the Design Conference major speech. So the University of Minnesota Students, we got a truck and I brought these parts out there, and they put this dome up on the grounds at Aspen of the Aspen Institute, and there were many students that came in for that conference and they went out and lived in this for a dormitory.
Next picture please. That particular delicate dome we then did moved back across the country again to, we put it up at Woods Hole, Massachusetts during, while I was putting up the big restaurant dome there in '53. And we used this dome for all the there were students from ten Universities of America that came into that project, and we manufactured in the shops at MIT, and we put the Dome together, the big Woods Hole Restaurant dome down at the sight, but the students lived in this particular dome as we moved it around quite a lot.
Next picture please. But it folded up, those things went in parallel got very, very tight. It came on a rather small trailer. This is at North Carolina State University, and this is another year where I worked with the Agricultural Engineering. Their Agricultural School is also ranked very, very high, and we developed a growth house. Now we got into studying all of the tray agriculture, and all the hydroponics and so forth, and we found we could develop a growth house, where letting you know, the sun that was an extremely interesting course for all the students, I assure you because the knowledge you are getting, just for instance in cell structure, and getting into biology, all the I have given you the fourteen facets of a tetrahedron the other day, do you remember that? There were six edges, four faces, and four vertexes, that sum total is 6, 4, and 4 is 14. And those could be, each one of those edges could be truncated, or corners could be truncated, and it turned it into fourteen facets. And one could be truncated a little more than the other, so it came out really quite unevenly, but the really number one world, at that time, plant physiologists said "All the cell structure, are always in these same 14 facets." and we find as you get into plateau and the bubble structures, all bubble structures are always 14 faceted. They could be any number of frequencies so this could seem to be really quite a different looking phenomena, but the faces turn out to be 14, and they are all to do then, with the fundamental symmetry which is there in the tetrahedron.
Now, in this particular project we found that we could develop a double-skinned dome, where we could let have air passages between the two skins, two different domes, an inner and an outer one. And we developed bottom valves and top valves, I've given you the way that airs get pulled out in one instance and come in in others, and so there are many valving conditions. An so this became a great valve, and I say with a double skin, so you could have sometimes the air was coming in, up and down, in between the double skins, and other, absolutely beautiful controls. We got into not only the fascinating studies about letting light in, the light periodicity of days and so forth, how you can hold back, as they do in green houses, where there is growth by just leaving the light on all night so the plants are waiting for night, and so they hold off, they don't get night, don't have a night, so they simply hold them off day after day, because they work in terms of actually night and day periodicity.
So, we get into much of the fundamental information. We found then it would be quite possible to develop a growth house that would be a saturated atmosphere, because what happens in the hydroponics, you mount your growth and the roots are down in the liquid, and the liquid has all the chemistry you need. We find that in the garden, the earth is simply a mounting. You have the roots, then, dangled, getting into the right liquid with the right chemistries. But the earth itself is not chemistry, it is simply a mounting, so that we could have the right mountings that was found out in hydroponics it works beautifully. So we found that we didn't even have to have it dangling in liquid, because we found we could make a saturated atmosphere with the right chemistries. This became a fascinating matter.
So then we found that we could, we are again using the tree growth, and I could have various apparatus going out circularly, very much like the cotton mill, with a support for whatever you need all your planting and you would be able, because it is all regular and can be rotated, and so forth and get things in the sun in the right ways, it was also possible mechanically to do various things in the way of cultivation and picking etc., etc. We found that the whole thing really could be automated, so that an automated growth house, I now know really one of the ways in which we are probably going to carry on in very important ways around our world is to get into these growth houses because you can get enormous, enormous sun impoundment with these big spheres, and you can get beautiful addressing of the growth to the sun, and we can get where really the foods are simply coming out the bottom and being driven away. They can come out and be canned or frozen or whatever you want. And off they go.