Everything I Know: Section 9
As you know, we’ve been through now about 26 hours, and I’ve been able to keep a picture of what I have said for 26 hours, and the I haven’t used any notes, but when I get home at night I begin to feel I’ve hurried through something too much, and I’ve left something out. So I may get up during the night and write down two or three things that I thought in the subjects. At first I started with a very comprehensive statement, and left out details, but now I’m getting into where I’m getting-in more details, and we’re not going to have another run through for more details, so that there are a few things I am going to mention that are complementary to what we talked about the last time.
Number one is the tensegrity. And we were dealing with the, remember, we had the octahedron was made out of three struts, and we found that there was a positive and a negative rotation, three struts of the octahedron, any one of them could make the octahedron. Then we brought those together. I could make this one a red, and a red, and a red this would be a blue, blue and a blue. You see the three that are really nearest you turbining towards you and I’ve got three towards me, here. And either one of those will act as a tensegrity by itself so we bring together two octahedra and they give us then the twelve vertexes of the icosahedron. In the intertriangulated patterning of the icosahedron.
I’m talking about this now, because as I pointed out to you a number of times, octahedron seems to have a double value remember when I used it in the it occurs in the jitterbug phase, from when it’s completely open here, the first time the octahedron appears it is already double, the two octahedra congruent one with the other. And, I’ve showed you here in the great circle foldings, that I could not make an octahedron out of just three great circles, of which the octahedron seems to consist. It took me two sets of great circles that had to be folded to give me the octahedron. So I found that the octahedron is always doubled up, and there is then this double value of the octahedron. A positive and a negative, either one of which apparently, you know I can have three holding up by themselves, or the other three can hold up by themselves, yet they come together non-redundantly in the icosahedron because they are opposite twists, so they really are opposing torque.
To me, however, it is amazing how often the octahedron shows up this, so she seems to have a volume of four, where we find she really is on the hierarchy, finally topologically analyzed out, the octahedron is the number two the tetrahedron is the number one octahedron is the number two and cube is number three. The octahedron is this lower order. But she will always appear to us as double, and you get her in the double form, and this is what you want to keep in mind, because there is something very interesting to me about that because you have the three possible structural systems of Universe, tetrahedron, octahedron and icosahedron and the limit case is the smallest and the least volume and the most quanta the tetrahedron; and the icosahedron the most volume with the least quanta of structure; but they are really singled out and the octahedron is in the middle of the two, so I’ve doubled having them both in it. It is also we have those, one or two of you have had crystallography. We get into ice on a spar, you remember, you get a great number of times in crystallography you get double images these parallel images occurring, very much as you see the parallel images appearing here.
And I also, as we finished last night, after we had shut down the actual show I said to people leaving the room, that we were really coming to, quite clearly to an extraordinary the greatest revolution of humanity in the history of man on our planet. And I said, it could be of two kinds, if power remains really in the saddle, and it became a power struggle of the arms, a bloody one, then it would really be all over for everybody. If, on the other hand, it is of the mind, and a design revolution, where the human mind really uses principles and does begin to participate in the efficiencies we find are operative we reviewed a lot of those yesterday, if we really went in for a design revolution, we could then take care of all humanity this is the antithesis of the bloody one, and all of humanity will come out very well. And so I feel, then, the experience we are having in this room together, I’m sure that everybody in this room was born in a fairly we’re not all from the same town anymore kind of idea, even though you are young. We’re from all over the place, and we’re part of a new world man, and we’re all you’re all fairly well up on everything I’ve said to you. As far as the general information goes, you have been confronted with the tetrahedron anything I’ve brought before you, you’ve had brought to you before but in an educational system that tended to analyze the experience of what has been brought before us, other than in the way I have been doing it with you. I have given you a new kind of a sorting out, because I was looking for Nature’s own coordinate system, and I’m sure she did have such a rational one, and I’m quite confident we have found it. And you are continually going to find it helping humanity to sort things out. And we are at this moment, where whether we go arms and the power structure revolution, or the mind and the design science revolution is absolutely touch and go, but is that’s why I feel that it is terribly important that this happened and when you really get down to it, why Meddy did a whole lot of work. It is a very interesting matter that the Bell System, for instance, would have a video studio like this available for research and development of various kinds, of the very highest order equipment, and very extraordinarily high order of competence of its management, interested in carrying on such a program as this.
There have been a great many people express desire to have this program developed somewhere. Where we make some kind of a video recording, but that it all has happened. It all has come into place. And it has come into place in the time of really we are approaching it is a silent kind of a crisis, because we are in an era of humanity where things are, as I pointed out to you earlier, the reality of humanity up to the 19th century was everything we could see, smell, touch, and hear; and that the reality of now is in that electromagnetic spectrum world where 99.9% of everything that is reality that we are dealing in is invisible not directly sensible by man’s senses, so that the what’s going on in the way of the revolution is really on, but it is a very silent affair, because it isn’t an accounting affair. It is a thinking affair. It is a people sorting things out in their own thoughts everywhere not just taking yesterday as you are approaching war, people not to do any thinking, and a great deal of propaganda to get to whipping people up the flags and then the drums and so forth, and then you’re going to go out marching to save our side. It’s not that kind of side anymore. So that the, now everybody, as I said, is in on the thinking. It’s the first time in the history of man where all of humanity is literate, the first time in history all humanity is aware of the rest of humanity. Very deeply aware. And so, the revolution is on, but all of humanity is really thinking and sort of waiting for something to happen. All we know is that humanity did then, either was forced to accept various political leaders, or in democracy began to elect political leaders. They began to elect a big father to do things for them instead, of leaving it to him.
We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve discovered that just to get elected in an enormous democracy such as America, that the moneys were involved, and to get into that silent invisible television program, enormous amounts of sums, money came in and the whole thing became incredibly corrupt.
It’s just very inherently corruptible. So that we now have gotten to the point where humanity, in general, certainly in the western world where there is any democracy, it is not having too much confidence, in fact almost no confidence in political leaders or anything, so what we have going on are really pathetic little shows of perfectly sincere human beings who have been historically and traditionally in great power, really not in any power at all. Nothing they are going to talk about is at any magnitude of adequacy in relation to what’s really going on.
I did get into this picture for you yesterday so that you would really realize that cross and there is the complexity of playing a game called “money” so you’d be able to exchange life support effort. Where you’re putting in the peas and somebody else is putting in the shoes. You’d want some way to exchange it. And then we got into the monetary by itself but then we got into merchants of the money as a medium and we got into playing enormous games with that interest which I pointed out to you yesterday when we got into where banks are sanctioned to have something called prime rates, and all the banks go up to usurious rates because it is utterly usurious historically phenomenally usurious rates. Where in 10 years, 10% interest, where the bank institution, where people have deposited their money, and the bank is taking the people’s money and loaning it out to people, and the bank is making 10% on the money. It only takes ten years for them actually to take over the credit for the people’s money.
You’ve gone from the money representing life support effort of human beings to money representing simply something that is manipulated by a game called money. So we have, just of its own right, automatically got into a world exchanging affair got into world war. Because it was the metals from everywhere, the technology from everywhere, the knowledge from everywhere around the world, suddenly was involved, and with that, then, we had the money game finding it very auspicious to escape all laws of all countries to become by becoming supranational. And they don’t need any passports. Ideologies don’t need passports to move around anywhere. And the great corporations don’t need passports they become ultra-, absolutely ultra-national and the accountings between the different countries. They own offices there, they don’t have to go through any states or anything, and just the people have been left national, and have to have passports and conscriptable and so forth. People have been locked into a pattern of yesterday, and for the big corporation and the big ideology to get on they have to go supranational.
So, here are we little people sitting around thinking around the world, under great, great governments of people who great powers who have been assigned and arrived at legally through history as appropriate. Suddenly these things are not appropriate. And I just wanted to also point out that the great revolutions of history have always, up to now, been waged over that story not story but accounting I gave you of the “big man” coming along and saying “This is my land, does anybody say no?” And the biggest man would simply win. That’s his land. So it was the power structure could simply have the land, and we have then the revolution for thousands and thousands of years of humanity realizing that the big man owns enormous amounts and he isn’t really doing anything but fighting once in a while. He’s just a man of arms, and all these people in peace time have to keep supporting him in a big way. So you get very easy, with 99% of humanity in poverty, because up to the 20th century, less than 1% of humanity was in on the wealth at all, or any security of life. 99% had been in poverty all of that time, so the 99% would always be excitable into revolution to try to overcome what seemed to be an absolutely unfair condition. So they would like to take over the land.
So all of the revolutions have always been about the land and the ownership of the land. As I pointed out to you yesterday, oh, incidentally, in all the books of accounting of wealth everything comes back then to what is called real wealth, or real estate, the only real wealth was real estate, was the land. And whoever could get hold of that land, and if he was lucky enough to have gold on it, fine, if he was lucky enough to have oil on it but the thing was to own the land. And so we find, on the books, there is nothing but the physical, and there had to be some chattel mortgage, there had to be some physical some goods, either land, or something very extra that had been taken out of the land and priced as physical and had a weight that airplane, so many pounds of valuable materials.
But the phenomena of “know how” the metaphysical was not on the books. To some extent it was there when patents were taken by corporations and they could seemingly keep the other fellow out there was some “know how” advantage, but it was very very small extraordinarily small. And, on the books of accounting, they write off that patent right away. It’s just good luck that you are making money on it, but it is not on the books you could not put metaphysicals on there. So I find that what is going on in the big money it was really very interesting right here at the University of Pennsylvania this last spring. David Rockerfeller came to speak at the Wharton School of Finance. And I went over to hear him speak, because he is a friend of mine, and he was late coming so they asked me to say something in advance because they knew we had to wait a half an hour he had missed his train or his plane, whatever it was getting here so they asked me to say something in the interim. And I did.
Then David arrived, and we both went to the dinner that followed his talk. And the students had tremendous interest in his reports on both China and Russia, which where he had pointed out that he did have then his Chase National Bank at number one Karl Marx place in Moscow, and he was at the very center of Peking, and the students said, what is it what are you going to do for the Chinese government? You are representing importing-exporting. What are you going to import-export. And David’s answer was “Know-how.”
Now I have been in Japan a very great deal, in the decades since W.W.II, and I watched the great companies and the finances of Japan, extraordinarily well-organized people and they were very visible and clear to me the way they operate. And they were buying know-how in very big chunks from American corporations. They got to going very fast in one business after another, literally daring to spend money to buy know-how. This is what I think is possibly the first time in history where it really became a big commodity, and from this point on it has been just exactly that. So the game, the military game was the “know how” game and the Russians would have their officers go in, and the United States would have their officers go into puppetry wars, and train the people. The “know how” was always the trick. So we find the big business, suddenly beginning in dealing, really in “know how”, which is the metaphysical.
And I said to you yesterday, very fascinatingly, where then the game of money, monopoly, trying to escape and it is always trying to escape, trying to find loop holes in laws, and if you can loop-hole, be transcendental to all the laws by being super national, of course you’ d go there, you’d just have to. That’s the way the game goes. And so, it all then, got inadvertently into just one pocket, and suddenly those who had been the monarches of the oil lands, who had been very easily flatterable, and the people who had made enormous money made fantastic amounts of them, so that they just rolled around in luxury, and felt no pain whatsoever, were suddenly with all the political agitation between the Russians and the United States about who was going to have the oil, suddenly, the heads of states began to realize that they really were heads of states and it was the oil there, so it became part of the grand strategy of one side or the other to get the monarches then to take over, so that the heads of the oil rich states took over the states, and suddenly said, “This oil belongs to us.” We have then, they did also realize that the incredible amount of “know how” of the oil company operators, so that there had to be all kinds of deals that went on in there.
But we have, then, suddenly, the whole world on what I call a very “petro tap” getting to where everybody is on pipelines and you can just turn of the valve and this thing would work. It seemed to be, by far, it was the laziest way and the easiest way to get on, and then we had the whole world hooked up that way. Then suddenly, here was the flow stopping, and we have these people who, then, found themselves to be THE monarches then of incredible wealth claiming they were, and taking over, and I said money got into a huddle of an international cartel of what I’ll just call “honey-money boys.” And so, the honey money boys suddenly found that they, or their corporations needed this oil very, very badly, and they couldn’t get on, or the industry couldn’t get on without them, and suddenly the monarches simply said, “We’re going to put the price up like that.” And just overnight they took over the money. So suddenly we have an extraordinary condition where the sellers of the vital metabolic supply of humanity, also have all the money to buy it, so that nobody has anything to buy with. Absolutely nothing on the books. The world’s books are absolutely empty.
So we come to a game where just money doesn’t work anymore. Which was the fascinating thing is that this had just petered itself completely out! And all, everybody is trying to think, all the “know-how” boys and banks are trying to think, how do you get this stuff out to get the world using it again? without really socializing the world. How do you keep the game of “capitalism” and “private enterprise” and get this thing working again. It was very easy to get the corporations all socialized, but for these corporations to unsocialize and keep things going it doesn’t work very well with private enterprise.
So the great silence that is going on is that nobody can find any way of making this thing work anymore and not do it on a physical wealth basis. So that there is a thorough intuitive awareness that the, whatever wealth and capability does come, is going to come from the “know how” from the metaphysical. The physicals are going to be going off of the books.
And as I said to you yesterday, you are beginning to get into a “world pattern” instead of just a “local pattern”, then you can’t take it with you in the next world and you can’t take it with you around the world, so it becomes really onerous. In my own personal experience, just very typical, I owned successively 45 automobiles, from the time of my first owning of a car just before W.W.I. And, then I gradually found myself going in bigger and bigger patterns, and it is really amazing how just in everyday life, the range of sweepout these are some very important figures for you. Up to W.W.I, human beings do average about 1500 miles per capita per annum with a pedometers show this is average life. This is your “to and fro-ing” 1500 miles a year. At the time of W.W.I, the world and U.S. were on a basis of 1500 miles per capita per annum by foot, and about 400 miles per capita per annum in the United States by some vehicle other than your own feet. In other words you were dominantly, three-fold dominantly, you got around on your own legs.
And the mechanization and motorization of W.W.I, the very word of W.W.I was “mobilization,” and the mobilization of W.W.I introduced so much mobility into humanity that after W.W.I, suddenly those automobiles going and man went up to, excuse me the walking distance was 1100 miles I’m sorry, was 1100 miles per annum, and it was 400 by vehicle, so we had but right after W.W.I, about 1918 we had so much motor equipment got going that man suddenly, in the United States we were going 1500 miles per annum by vehicles and only 1100 miles by feet. He still keeps on walking exactly the same distance, whether he sits on a chair on his porch, or sits on a chair in his car. And gets out and goes into the kitchen, or gets out and goes into the store, he uses the legs just about the same amount.
So, I found that from there on, by, within very few years in the 20’s we got up where the average house wife was making 10,000 miles a year, because she was driving to all the places to do her shopping. This has gone up and up and up, and I find then operating in my life, where I was then beginning to sweep out 30,000 miles, and then it got to be 50,000 and now it’s gotten to well over 100,000 a year. And so I didn’t know this was coming, nobody knew this was coming. This is the synergetic interaction of all these effects of evolutionary advance of the “little man” himself.
So, finally I got to where, after 1958, I began to find myself leaving my cars, literally at airports, and not having a chance to go back to them. I was renting, paying space, and finally I had to get some agent to go and take it away and sell it for me. So now I rent my cars wherever I go to, and at first I having owned 45 cars, I went through that the smell of your own car, and the knowing how all the things are fixed on it and so forth, when you were the mechanic and you really did have a better car than the other guy, because you really knew how to fix your car and he didn’t, that has some meaning. But I began to realize that the big motor business was operating in a way very deleterious to our interests.
I’m going to be able to give you a little insight into this because I did get into producing three motor vehicles, and they looked so attractive to the big automobile companies, that the big automobile companies all thought about taking them on to produce them. So I had a great deal of contact with those automobile companies.
The most important relationships were with Chrysler, there was the old Packard outfit, and there was a Wall Street group of Hayden-Stone. Hayden-Stone had bought owned Curtis-Wright Aeronautical, and they also owned the Studebaker automobile at that time, the old Pearce-Arrow. And the Hayden-Stone group wanted to take on the Dymaxion car and make it the Curtis-Wright Dymaxion, they said the airplane world was stealing from the automobile world, and they thought they might as well have the automobile world stealing a little bit from the airplane world, so they were going to use the advanced know-how of the aeronautical world to produce the Curtis-Wright Dymaxion, and they were then going to make it the lead car for the Studebaker family, and would produce it, produce the Curtis-Wright Dymaxion in the old Pearce-Arrow factory in Buffalo, New York a beautiful factory.
In the earliest days, Pearce-Arrow, Packard, Ford, Cadillac, they produced all the parts of the car in their own factory. And gradually, W.W.I found a letting out of subcontracts to produce parts in a very big way. So that gradually automobile companies went into more and more of assembly of the parts, and the actual factories of today when at the time of the great Crash, and the United States did socialize the big corporations, they then nominated certain businesses I said to you U.S. Steel there were some prime contractors who they were going to keep alive, always to be able to carry on their warfare. To get their weaponry to protect the country. So these prime contractors were going to always be kept alive. Now the United States, then, at the New Deal Time, though it made Ford Motor Company a prime contractor and General Motors a prime contractor, the criteria of being a prime contractor in the automobile business was that the automobile company had to make it’s own cylinder blocks, had to make it’s own crank shaft, and it’s own cam shaft. That’s all it had to do to be a prime contractor, and they all still do that in order to remain a prime contractor, but approximately all the other parts are produced elsewhere by parts manufacturers on enormous bidding, enormous competitive bidding to the automobile companies, working in thousandths of a cent differentials of their pricing.
So the this Pearce-Arrow factory being suddenly available, because it had been one of the companies that made everything under their own roof didn’t work anymore and those kind of companies began to go out. Walter Chrysler also was very deeply interested in the car. The Hayden-Stone deal to produce the Dymaxion Car, Curtis-Wright Dymaxion Car fell through when the New Deal came in, because Curtis-Wright in producing this airplane, felt that it also had to have airports to fly them out of, that nobody would think of buying an airplane without an airport, therefore they had to produce some airports. So the Curtis-Wright company really produced and owned all of the well-known little airports that were around they were pretty small airports, for the kinds of planes they had, but they were the airport owners.
And it was under an agreement that the New Deal was going to buy their airports, and they were going to take the money that came from the New Deal for the airports, and they were going to put it into this Curtis-Wright Dymaxion car in Buffalo. Well, something happened between the Wall Street firm and the New Dealers, that didn’t work, so they cancelled this, so they never went thru with that deal.
But Walter Chrysler became deeply interested in the car. He even thought about producing it. And he came out the year after I produced my first Dymaxion, he came out with his Air Flow, and he wanted to look at my Dymaxion, and incidentally, there was a New York automobile show that year. The automobile show was of very great importance in those years, and the New York automobile show of 1934, still the Old Grand Central Palace on Lexington Avenue the Chrysler Company then getting into enormous preparation to confront the public with Air Flow the word air flow coming suddenly in streamlining. They took the main position at the show remember this was still the very depth of the Depression, ’34, you were just two years out of the New Deal Presidency, which starts in even though he was elected in ’32 ’33, so one year out of the depth of the Depression, and so not many people had much money to take on space. So Chrysler Company had taken this very prominent space. But the automobile show couldn’t sell much space to others, so they had given me, free, and asked me to bring in my Dymaxion Car as a feature for the show. But I wasn’t paying anything. So Chrysler Company said they would not pay for their very prominent front position of the show unless they threw my car out.
The Police Commissioner of New York was very well-impressed by my car. He was General Ryan, had been the head of the New York Division during World War I, and General Ryan liked my car very much, so he asked he invited me to park my car in front of the Grand Central Station the Palace, along Lexington Avenue. So it really did steal the show, and Walter Chrysler asked me to bring it down to his place in Long Island, he wanted to look it over, and he said, “You have produced the car I wanted to. By the time my engineers, my sales department, my bankers everybody in this enormous corporation got through things, it wasn’t anything that I really liked at all. It wasn’t what I thought I was going to get.” It had been modified so many times. And he said “You produced the exact car I wanted to produce. And he said, “In our big corporation we have ‘checks and balances’, so that a a nut inventor cannot be a good persuader and get the corporation to really sink itself in deeply into something that is not going to work. But,” he said, “you have really had the right mechanic experience,” Walter Chrysler himself was a mechanic and he very quickly found that I, too, was a mechanic, and he said “you have had the right experience and the perceptivity to really produce the car that needed to be produced, and you have the capability to produce it.” So, he used to ask me to take out his various members of his Board of Directors to really see what a good car it should have been and to see what he had been talking about.
Now, Walter Chrysler said, “Let us make a comparison since you have produced just what I did want to produce, and you’ve done it as a little individual, and I produced mine as an enormous corporation with all the checks and balances we have” he said, “let’s look into what it cost you to produce your prototypes,” I built three of them. And he looked into what it cost to produce his prototypes. And we found that in the corporation, it took three times as much time and four times as much money to produce our prototypes but I came out with a faultless one as far as he was concerned, and he came out with a compromise. So he was really deeply impressed with what the little individual can do.
When I talk to you about trying to find out what individuals can do that corporations and great states can’t do. It’s the whole matter of that bureaucracy and the checks and balances of very great importance.
At any rate, this gave me great intimacy with the automobile world. Now, why the automobile companies did not get into producing my car. And I’ll assure you, Hudson all of them looked it over. Walter Chrysler finally turned up why they did not. It is really very simple. At that time, for every new car sold, five old cars had to be sold. That was the rate of getting rid of getting a man who had a rather poor car, you had to take in his car, and you had to sell it of course. And so they found that the following:
In the automobile mass production of cars, the automobile producer can’t own all the cars he’s producing. You get up to something like at Chrysler Company, or the Dodge factory there are 5,000 cars in one assembly plant of the many assembly plants just one plant turning out 5,000 a day. And they were, say, something over a thousands dollars, so you’ve got a thousand times five thousand, and so that’s $50 million, it’s a very yes, it’s about $50 million the company can’t own it’s own product. There is not enough capital to possibly do it.
So what happened is that the automobile “inventors” got going and Henry Ford and others, the others had it too, where people wanted their cars, there was a great profit for a distributor of a car, and it was very worth while being a dealer. So the dealers there is something called “distributor” which is a state area, and there is a local “dealer” within it so the distributor has secondary dealers. A distributorship of the automobiles had been a very profitable matter. So much so that Henry Ford and others were able to write in their contract, that if you happen to have my distributorship, you have to guarantee to take so many cars a year. So the and you’re going to have to then, in the contract, agree that you’re going to have to let me know weekly what the cars exactly what kind of car you want. Your quota for this week, we’ll say is going to be 300. How many of what are those going to be? Opening or touring cars? Run abouts? What are they, what color and so forth? So the automobile distributor has to give a schedule so many station wagons and such and such, and such and such a date is agreed on. He must then, the distributor must be at the end of the production line his representatives must be there with banking papers to pay for the car as it comes off. And it goes through a testing and he drives it away. Puts it on his truck today, or whatever way he’s going to ship.
This is the only way, then, that the automobile mass production could occur. Then the this meant that the local dealer rather the distributor, got his contract, because he was a well-known business man, and a business man apparently, when he undertook to do something, could bring it off so that he risked the money and would make a profit, and everybody came out alright. So the distributor himself, could not possibly put up the money to buy all these cars, so he went to the local bank. And the local bank knew him as a businessman who didn’t bite off more than he could chew, so he would finance him. So it meant then that the local banks, and the local banks didn’t own the money, it was the people’s deposits. So what happened then was that the people’s deposits were, you and I didn’t know that our deposits, but are funding Detroit to produce cars. And our funds, our deposits are literally buying those cars and they are held temporarily in the paper work by the bank, and they go on to dump it as soon as they can on some customer.
But, and the very, very high equity advantage of the banks it’s done at such a percentage that the bank can’t really lose. You’re not really losing money because his replenishment capabilities and so forth, are really very high, and along with unjust terms.
At any rate, the banks then, Walter Chrysler found, the banks owned the automobiles. Then, furthermore, the salesman in order to be able to sell that car had to agree to take the car in. So, it, then again, the distributor couldn’t buy all those cars, so the banks bought them. So we find the banks all the lots full of cars around the country here, your deposits own those. You don’t know it, but the Bank Manager is very eager to get to be sure to get rid of those. And so far at least up till now he’s done pretty well. And the equities they have, I say, are such that they can the mark can go fairly far off.
But, what Walter Chrysler discovered was: that if you advance car #1 your best car, too fast, it deteriorates the value of your second hand cars, it accelerates the deterioration, and the banks would not allow the automobile companies at Detroit to advance their models. They could be really quite superficial, where what they did was, then, to make a superficial change in the body and then in the styling departments of all these automobile companies, they were putting clay in the mud guards making these a little more streamlined each year. And then making them so the mud guards and everything outside looked different, but they were exactly the same chassis. There were gradual improvement of the better brake where the brake is. There were some engineerings that did get better, but this was really very slow. And the changes were really entirely superficial.
So that the banking equity was not in jeopardy. In other words, it was not a matter of the automobile companies wanting to produce the Dymaxion Car, they just found they couldn’t.
Now, I’ve told all that to you because, after W.W.II, W.W.II found all the enormous production capability of Detroit wanting to get in on the enormous money of W.W.II, so that they had to agree to give up their automobile production while they were getting out the tanks and everything else. But all of the automobile companies, then, agreed, one with the other, and they advertised that everyone wanted, the men when they got back, wanted to have their nice old car, that ran this way. I want my new Franklin, I want my nice new Franklin. But it’s going to be just like that car so they advertised that this was what G.I. Joe wanted and so forth, keep everything for me so they kept all their dies.
Now new tooling of a car costs around oh about, my figures I haven’t had this recently in 1951 I know it cost about $70 million to re-tool a new car. So they don’t like to spend that kind of money. At any rate, they agreed to keep their tools. W.W.II technology advance was incredible. It meant then when the war was over, then, Italy and the foreign people were not in this mass production, but were really producing cars really went all steel, were very, very advanced. And the American companies came in, got out all the old dies, and they couldn’t compete with the beautiful technology of the rest of the world.
As a consequence, they found that the distributors didn’t like their automobile business anymore. The cars were not selling with the ease that they did. General Motors and Ford got enormous building programs where they get fancy new quarters Cadillac and Buick continually upping the sales rooms, trying to make things look more “schmaltzy” and so forth, but the distributor found that he just was having a very hard time to sell his cars because, in the meantime, labor rates were going up, everything was going up, and the margin of 30 or 40% that the distributor had was really eaten up by everything his rents and the works. He was going through a terrific headache, and making no money. So that he said, “I’m going to give up my dealership,” and they realized he was a very good man, and they didn’t want to lose him, so what the automobile companies started doing was designing a perfectly good car, but deliberately putting in inferior metal into this part or that part. It looked like just the way the part should look, and so it should really fool your eye alright, but it was designed to wear out in an hurry.
So they guaranteed that all their dealers selling cars that the customers would come back at least once a month and would pay so much, and what they did then was to advance the prices of the parts in the catalogue, to where if you wanted to put together a car out of the parts catalog of the Buick or so forth it would cost you four or five times what the Buick would cost. So that the only way they were able to keep their dealers was this is where the words “designed in obsolescence” came from. America, then, really started then cheating itself. It’s own businesses deliberately fooling its own people. This was a fundamentally very unhealthy matter.
Well, I’ll come to the point now, that I am renting my cars, and I find that when I rent the car because they, General Motors and Ford own their Avis and their Hertz and so forth, then they maintain the cars and they don’t put in the bad parts. So when I rent my car I get a very superior car to anything I can buy, I assure you. And I can get almost a new car every time, and it’s really very pleasant, and I can keep it as long as I want it. When I go out for Christmas time in California with my family, I’ll rent a car for the month, and it’s my car just as much as it ever was my car. There’s no kidding about it, so this was just pure kidding myself about owning it.
And, so I simply see, this is the way it’s going to go. I FIND OWNERSHIP BECOMING INCREASINGLY ONEROUS. I have moved a number of times and just finding very valuable, lovely old things that our grandmothers and grandfathers gave us years ago being stolen. Then we want to move from town to town and it costs you $25,000 and so forth. The OWNERSHIP IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY ONEROUS.
And I find all the big corporations are really realizing that, so Chrysler and Ford realized they’ve got to get into the renting business, and this is exactly what I said to you earlier. The only industries that are going to survive are going to be giving services, and they are going to be giving good services. And they are going to be continually improving the product because the better the product the more people use it. So if they earn just on the frequency of giving good service, it gets into a very different kind of a drive from what it has been trying to get you to buy something, and leave it up to you to get rid of it.
Now, I talked to you a lot about these things go off on these drives and I had a this is then relative, all these things I’m saying to you to the talk I gave you the other night about monies and banking and world economics and what’s on the books and so forth, so you really, the best I can I want to get you to feel and understand the kind of accounting revolution that will come about. Where it will go from the ownership over to the service, where it will go from the just ownership blindly, to know-how. And the understanding that really the important part of wealth is the know-how part. That the material, just the rock by itself is nothing.
Now, the, there was another aspect I left out talking to you about because we came really to the end of time. And that was, I pointed out to you that the building industry was the last of the “one of” industries, where automobiles vehicles, had gotten into mass production, and your watches and your clocks and everything else was mass production, and you could really get out a very great deal of capability for humanity at very low prices that way. But the last, and only phase of man’s activity, that was not in that industrialized mass production world was the building world.
Well, the building world says “Oh yes, we do, we mass produce nails and we mass produce bricks and so forth but it wasn’t then, the parts that really count, it was the assembly, and when you begin to assemble a building out and it’s raining no environment control, and the men’s hands are freezing, or you’ve got to stop work with the wind. That’s no way you have to do things under controlled conditions. You have to really produce under the most optimum conditions, as we do with everything else.
At any rate, at the time of, I pointed out to you, all of the buildings of Italy, those beautiful castellos done by slaves and it didn’t cost any money. You just put a whole lot of people to work and built your building. But when labor and humanity began to share equally get some equal enjoyment out of our economy as labor was able, finally, by developing its Unions to force itself into such position. Then you really had to pay people properly, and you couldn’t afford the building. So that we have, the building industry, as I have said, was really obsolete at the time of the Great Crash, when then the banks took in these farms that were really unwanted kind of living equipment, and we then began to rehabilitate the mortgages, and we from there on the government’s continuous financing or doing it by guaranteeing, and guaranteeing that telling the bank it could go, then, and give mortgages on the building. It was all simply because of a really a fundamental U.S. subsidy of the building industry.
What I didn’t tell you yesterday was that we’ve gone on then in this enormous mortgaging, and the government taking over the fundamental risk of all the mortgages. At the time of the New Deal, the national debt was the largest it had ever been in history it was $36 billion. It was really an amazing matter that we came into W.W.I where the national debt was approximately 0. Something you’d get into a billion once in a while, but it would get cleaned up. It was a very new matter to get into such big figures, and the Great Crash really occasioned us getting up to $36 billion. Things that, periods(?) that were trying to enter into between 1929 and the New Deal coming in in 1933.
At any rate, the national debt is now up to, and the interest on that $36 33 billion was, as I remember it, it was very, very low at that time. It was about 3.5%. At any rate the interest on it was somewhere of the magnitude of $1 billion per year the interest the government had to pay the banks.
We’ve now gotten to where the National Debt is approaching $600 billion it’s over half a trillion dollars. We’re at the point, and we are paying this incredible, usurious rates of interest, so that we’re at a point now where the annual interest the government is having to pay the banks is greater than the national debt of the time the New Deal began. Incredible trickery has been done here, out of that National debt, about $300 billion represents what the United States has had to go into debt in order to finance the building industry, which was absolutely obsolete when they took it over. That is what it costs to finance an obsolete industry for a third of a century.
I assure you, that the building we have known, the architecture you have been in, all the game, is absolutely over it’s all stopped all together. And if we do survive on our planet, and if we stop using our highest technology and so forth, just to kill to go into killingry, and apply aerospace technology, and the physicists and so on, into how do you really make life work to man’s livingry you get the chemists and the physicists really working on to how to use the human wastes. I said, you know, that no scientist has ever been asked to look at the plumbing. I was able to really find that out. What an amazing thing! Because when we really have science really looking at the livingry, then things are going to change very, very greatly. Please understand. And, I know, it’s absolutely highly feasible today for us to bring, to fly a whole city into position, just like bringing a whole fleet in the harbor.
And in one day you can fly a whole city into position, and remove it tomorrow. And those are the kinds of things that are going to be happening, so that when you see the kinds of buildings we now have here, they’re going to make very good mines, nice iron mines and so on, and good copper mines etc. But they must be thought of that way.
And so we’re at a point where the United States is bankrupt, it’s foreign indebtedness you just can’t touch it. And the American human beings, their money equity is down to nearly the game is still going on out there, and it’s going to be a long time before people really know, because suddenly this is not going to work here, and then we’re going to be very badly started. But I say, it is really going to come on really very silently. The big “money honey” monopoly has lost it’s hand, and they’re just not going to announce to you that the money game is all through. They never do. Humanity is simply going to have to find it out.
I want you to realize that. It is important that I have been able to keep my position of being considered apolitical, that my whole strategy has been in artifacts, and not in trying to reform the men, not to get into politics. Therefore I find myself being trusted I really find myself, it’s amazing, that I am trusted by the Russians, and I find myself, for instance, just before Christmas, I was asked to speak to the State Department’s Foreign Service School a year’s school of the top men who are going to represent the United States in the civil service, who will become an Ambassador or suddenly become a and have this year’s school, and for me to talk the way I’m talking to you here. And Sonny Applewhite was with me, and they how many Sonny, 34 people or something like that? and for these kind of people to stand up and give you an ovation is very strange.
But what I am really saying is that their service is really all through, and they are giving me an ovation still. So I want you to realize I am not speaking as a subversive, or something. I am simply saying what I have had the experience to see. I’m just telling you what I’ve seen, and this is the way I operate, and as you get to people who are expert in their field, they say “Yes, that is so.”
So I did I leave anything else out now No those are the things that I realized I hadn’t fully developed for you the other night that I got pretty close to it, but I want you to really feel when we come now, because my own function, which I expose you to as a grand strategy of the DESIGN SCIENCE, and what are the challenges of the DESIGN SCIENCE? And they are, then, how do I arrange to get humanity look out for life support so that it can really prosper, really looking out for that new young life so that it does not get the ill conditioned reflexes of yesterday debilitating its perceptivity and its resourcefulness and curiosity, and dismaying it. So we have that young world coming along, able to really quite fearlessly, spontaneously employ these principles of Nature which we have now learned enough about, where it is now inasmuch as I now know and can see, and really spell out the technical feasibility of looking out for all humanity at a higher standard of living than anybody has ever known, and do so for all the generations to come, and doing so on our energy income and not on our savings account, which the fossil fuels are. Now that I know that can be done, I therefore, as I said to you the other day, then I know that politics is obsolete. Because they can only be founded on “it had to be you or me.” They were theories as how to get on as you or me. Like which is going to be the preferable me? That’s what the battles and the politics were about.
And I know that is obsolete. I know that war is obsolete. I know that really approximately everything we have been engaged in is obsolete the game. And here are all these brilliant human beings, and they really are brilliant all around the world. They are beautiful. But, what are we all going to get to thinking about?
So, in the hours that I still have left with you, and I think we are down to approximately 12 or 15 hours, something like that it’s not very much, I’ve got a whole lot I’d like to cover. I have lots and lots more pictures and so forth, and I would like to just show you a few of them to give you a feeling of the reality. Because remember what I have said I must deal in artifacts, I must not talk about the artifacts unless it is reducible to practice in other words you just don’t talk about bright ideas. Everybody has bright ideas. And anybody can talk about “I’ve got a great invention.” It’s nothing at all to find thousands of people who have inventions, and they’re doing nothing about it. The whole thing is “Can you reduce it to practice?” Will society really permit this thing?
It’s a very big test, and what I really learned out of reduction to practice has been by far the largest amount of my learning. So I think that if I show you a few slides of things I have been involved with and so forth, you can understand why I had to have a better map projection I had to see my world. I wanted to see what the shop looks like. What is the environment we are dealing in look like?
And, I would like to now, show a few slides of and while I may seemingly bring in subjects that I talked about with you before this we’re looking at now is called a Geoscope. I wanted to see the world a little better than just in my map, and I since have been given a paper, incidentally, on a number of people historically, that I did not know about until about a week ago, until I started reading this paper it is a beautiful paper the number of people who had a feeling about how to get humanity to see the earth in a little better way, so in the great World’s Fairs in the Paris Exposition at the time of the Eiffel Tower they were planning a big miniature earth I, however, got into a miniature earth quite a lot, and I think I told you a little about the one, for instance, we had at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville have I talked to you about that? No.
Alright, what you are looking at right this minute is a sphere which is a miniature earth on the roof of the Electrical Engineering Building at Cornell University where in 1951 I had one of the architectural classes and we went in for this project. And this beautiful structure was built. It was an eight frequency geodesic and it was built with very delicate wood slats. We can get down to, remember, a 2 x 1/2, but it really is dressed out to something very much less. They are these long very nice clear slats, and we made this structure of those light, clear pine slats. They were painted blue. And being painted blue they had very much a feeling of water, as you look at it there, and you could see through the things, so it had sort of the transparency of water. It had an extraordinary water effect.
Now, what we did, because I had my trigonometry very, very accurate, I was able to coordinate the mathematical coordinates the latitude and longitude grid very accurately with my geodesic grid. And we found then, that you are used to now the icosahedron it has thirty edges, and each edge of an icosahedron or tetrahedron, any of the structural omnitriangulated structures, the edge has what I call a domain the edge has a domain where it owns up to the center of gravity of the two faces which it divides on the surface. So, if you take these two centers of gravity, the two triangles adjacent perpendicularly away from the edge, and join the ends of the edge together with the center of gravity, you get a diamond. That is, there are, with the thirty edges of the icosahedron there are also thirty diamonds. Just look, for instance, at the octahedron. I said there is a domain of edges, domain of edges are up to the centers of gravity of the faces they divide. So this is an edge and it divides this face from that face, so it owns this center of gravity up to here. And this center here owns up to the center of gravity up to there. And each one owns up just so so if I connect the centers of gravity of the octahedron and its vertexes, you get a center of twelve diamonds and those twelve diamonds will be the rhombic dodecahedron.
If you extend the centers of gravity outwardly a little, this becomes that, so that the domains of vertexes are also, then, connecting the centers of gravity between the adjacent faces in a circle around it, and that is where you get the dodecahedron and so forth. Those are domains of vertexes. So the dodecahedron is the domains of the vertexes of the icosahedron. So, I want you to understand what we mean by these special characteristics of the so that the domain of the face is the face itself.
Now, I had then with the Cornell dome we had, there are thirty diamonds that coincided, then, with the, which I had the mathematical coordination with the latitude-longitude grid of our earth, and we broke up our project into these more than that. Each of these thirty diamonds, being a diamond, a diamond is more or less we call it a parallelogram if it is in the flat. You can then make a perpendicular line in it here is a diamond face, right? make a line going like this, parallel to the two edges of it that make a thin what we call a raft. So we have sixty rafts. And we then had the what we did was to lay down pieces of large wrapping paper the size of one of these diamonds of the icosahedron the raft and we put on the geographical coordinates, latitude and longitude, and then counted the land the edges of the land. We then there were sixty students so they each had one of these rafts. And each of them, then, took chicken wire mesh, it was half inch chicken wire mesh and they rolled that out flat on their drafting boards, and they then laced it to the wrapping paper so that they then could cut the chicken net to conform to exactly the same shape and it was fastened to the paper. And we have then the outlines of the land on the paper below it.
If it were the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it may not be land, so there are no lines. Then we took bronze fly screen, beautifully fresh bronze fly screen, and it had some kind of plastic treatment so it kept its shininess and we cut out the continental areas for that particular piece of the chart and sewed it onto the chicken wire. Then when we made up our dome of these slats and so forth there were diamond areas identified, and the students were able, then, to take their raft of chicken wire with this bronze screen corresponding to the land, and fasten it into place on the dome. And when they did so then, finally the whole surface of the earth was represented by and so that where it was just chicken mesh and blue, come back to then you see the blue painted structure, but the chicken mesh you can’t see, it is invisible to you from the distance, and the bronze screen you can see the sun is reflecting from it. So the bronze screen then gave the exact continental outlines.
What you’re looking at in this picture is the upper left middle would be the Bering Straits you are seeing Alaska towards you here, and we’re looking at the northern part of Siberia and you can see that. Now, I think actually that the picture is reversed, I’m sorry to say. And in the upper right hand there sort of floating bronze is Greenland, it’s back around the wrong way. It would be good if they do turn it, then we can talk about it a little more intelligently.
And then, then what we did with our sphere now you can really see the Greenland, and you can see Alaska, and it really begins to make sense. You can see Kamchatka the peninsula coming down there, and you can see Japan over on the right hand side, etc. The, it had, strangely, if you do look at those photographs coming into our planet from the moon and so forth when you can see through the cloud cover, strangely enough we do get this kind of a blue transparency and we get the bronze that color for the land, and it seems to be a strangely good representation, and seen from the distance.
Next picture because within the next picture, from this, as you can see, it began to look more and more like our planet as it does when you come in from outer space.
I’m going to now keep that picture a little bit because it gives you the next thing we did. With our miniature earth, now, we mounted it up on the roof on tripods, at considerable height, and we oriented the sphere in such a way, that it’s axis it’s north pole south pole axis was exactly parallel to the real earth’s axis. And then we rotated the sphere around it’s north pole south axis, so that Ithaca, where Cornell is in New York, was it’s zenith. So the way our big planet earth was oriented in the heavens, Ithaca is in this direction and then the little miniature, so, the little one was mimicking the exact posture of the big earth in the Universe. The distance to the nearest star being 92 million miles away, and so forth, and even from the from any other star group in the sun if you could ever see such a little light as our earth reflecting the sun’s light, you’d not have, if we were any distance apart, you would never know whether you were looking at my miniature earth or the big one, because their centers are only 4,000 miles apart.
And the distance of 4,000 miles apart is absolutely undetectable, so the little earth is exactly the same altitude, and if something happened to the big earth it’s fine, it has the same altitude in the heavens. Now this is what happens, incidentally, if you have a boat on the davit of the Queen Mary and the boat on the davit is parallel to the Queen Mary’s keel. And so whichever way the Queen Mary heads, the little boat heads. And if the big Queen Mary is tipping, the little boat is tipping. From inside the little boat, and observing just what the little boat does, you can know exactly what the Queen Mary is doing in relation to the heavens and the stars, and the compass anything.
So, I want you to realize that it became really a true miniature earth, and the what you saw, we had this tripod I said, and the tripod legs came up through the Indian Ocean, just happened to be very convenient that they came that way so that it didn’t go through any of the continents. And we’d go up a ladder on the tripod, and there was a platform, and the center of the tripod was the exact center of the earth, offset by a little distance because we made, so you put your chin on the top of the tripod and your eye was at the center of the sphere. So what you saw with your chin on the tripod, was exactly what you would have seen if you took an elevator down into the center of the earth. From Ithaca, always keeping Ithaca above you here, and what you look out at, if you had x-ray eyes, any star in zenith over any continent would be there. So, the students became fascinated by that because inside there we could see all the stars you see. It was really lovely. It didn’t block them at all even through the flyscreen no trouble at all.
So here was, for instance, the first night it happened the big dipper was over the North American continent. At any rate, they were able to get on the telephone and check that that star was in zenith over that point. It was absolutely a true planetarium. So in the offset of the stars, there would be no no error whatsoever in this 4,000 mile offset from the center. You don’t really get any different as we’re going around the sun orbiting the earth very little displacement difference, let alone that much of a difference. So that we’re making 60,000 miles an hour around the sun, so it’s not long before you get that kind of differential very fast.
Now, I want you to understand, this is miniature earth, and for the first time in history, I think, grown ups in there began we spent, luckily it was a beautiful night the first night we finished it. It was a lovely May evening, and as you were in there. The first place, on the roof, you could come down about on what you’re looking at the roof side the roof side nearest you, this side of the sphere the north was in the other direction. So if you looked up through the South Pole of the miniature earth, and remove yourself so the South Pole is exactly on the North Pole of the miniature earth, then there is the pole star right there just lovely. And you could see right, you could see all of that. So inside it, when you stood really looking, facing north on the platform, which we made it arranged very easy for you to do, then you realize that the pole star is staying right there, and you begin to realize that the nearer you came to your left and right near the equator, the more rapidly the wires were passing the stars. So you began to really feel the rotation of the for the first time you suddenly begin to realize our earth was revolving! You became so absolutely convinced of its right attitude, that it was like somebody was revolving the sphere here! On that polar axis, you really felt it.
The kids stayed there all night, and the next day we began to even it was fascinating that the chicken mesh wire rather even the little bronze wire was such that a star, the refraction of light just bending around the wire you really could just feel this thing, and the glistening, it was very, very impressive, the sphere. This then had to do, then, with getting you and I hooked up with the Universe. We I’ve built quite a number of these since. The idea was to get to bigger and bigger ones, and from Cornell I went to the University of Minnesota where we undertook to do the 200 footer, we never did get it finished. I told you about doing it out of polyester fiberglass. And from Minnesota I went on to Princeton, and at Princeton we decided we would really, really lick this business, and we worked for we worked for three years on the project at Minnesota and then three successive years at Princeton and we got to where it needed a lot of money, and we found that instead of having we would just have electric lights on our sphere, and many, many of them and they would simply illuminate, and we found we didn’t even have to draw the outlines, because we could then have a computer light the lights to outline anything you wanted any altitude you wanted and so forth.
But realize, at back of the UN Building in New York in the East River is what used to be Blackwell’s Island, and then it became Welfare Island, and then it had all kinds of insane asylums and city prisons on it, and gradually those were moved away. They built a new island of refuse up there, further towards the sound and all those things up there. They, that has now been renamed Roosevelt Island. At any rate, South of Blackwell’s Island is Blackwell’s ledge with bell buoys and so forth, a whole group of rocks in the water, and there right, actually out to the east of the United Nations building. And what I wanted to do was to build, then, a miniature earth, mounted from those rocks, having a mast, and mounted in cables it would weight so very little that the cables would be really invisible and it would seem to be floating out there, look like a miniature earth that’s come in close to our earth here, and it’s, the United Nations building we made it so it was going to be 200 feet in diameter, would be mounted 200 feet above the water, so it would be the height it would be 400 feet, that would be the height of the United Nations building. So, it would be a miniature earth really out confronting the representatives of the world.
And, we wanted to have on it, actuating everything that is going on, where all the bonfires are, how all those fires must be burning and so forth, so that we continually have the world looking at itself, and looking at the consequences. And getting the different kinds of viewpoints that you can get. So, at one time this looked like it would be around $10 million and I’m sure today it would cost a good deal more, but it was a feasible sum now the 200 feet in diameter was because the height at which the Air Force started flying mosaics of the world before we got to satellites, the lowest height that it flew from, making aerial mosaics of Europe and Germany and so forth, whatever that might be, was at a height where, if you took the 35mm photograph made by them, and you put 35mm photographs together, edge to edge, it would make a 200 foot sphere. You could take a direct photograph. And in those photographs, you could make out, you could see all the streets and everything you could see individual human houses, but you can’t see the humans. But you can see your home. You know that’s your home just as clear as can be, you can pick it out. So that I wanted some way in which you had a scale where human beings could really feel themselves on the earth, even though they couldn’t quite see themselves, they could really feel, these are my works, and the house is part of me, so that was the scale.
Now, we have built one for the religious center at Southern Illinois University’s Edwardsville campus, and it is a 50 footer. And the different religions the leaders of the different religions needed to have something on campus, and they pooled their monies together and had this religious center built. And it really does what we said. You go in to go out to the Universe. And you go in, and you get out in the Universe in a hurry you go in to go out.
Now, you are looking at the religious center at Edwardsville now, that picture.
May I have the next I am going to go through a number of pictures, thinking about things in a “geoscopish” kind of way. I give you this name “geoscope” and I tried miniature earth, I’ve had different kinds of ways of talking about it.
Next picture please. We’re back then to Cornell. Incidentally, this is the way it looked on the campus, and I’m sorry to say that the next fall, Halloween, students from other parts of the University this sphere looked very attractive to them, and somehow or other they scaled the building to get on the top, and they wanted to get it down and roll it around the campus for a Halloween “to do”, but they put it over the edge and they dropped it and smashed it. These sad things do happen when you develop projects. It was a very, very rich experience.
Next picture. This is in London. A number of Universities now have been making my geodesic, but making the sphere in transparencies. So it is really quite easy to make quite a large sphere transparent. But you have your air breathing problems and so forth.
Next picture. That is another one of those in London.
Next picture. I’ll just give you then again something you have already looked at where the people are on our planet.
Next picture. And the ill design of the Mercator.
Next picture. I’m just going really quite fast. The water-ocean world and the British Empire.
Next picture. And now the air-ocean world where going from east-west to abrupt north-south, and integrated the whole world instead of having it all divided. And Canada coming in because they had the greatest proximity to China and Russian and so forth. There is a, the Edwardsville Campus of Southern Illinois University happens to have, running through the grounds, the 90th meridian of our earth 90 west. As you know the meridians, you add the two, two amounts of the east and the west, and they must make up to 180 degrees, and so that 90 is the only one where 90 east and 90 west are the same. Something like our 45 degree, 45 degree in an isosceles right triangle. So 90 west at the Edwardsville campus, I got the Chancellor of the University would allow me to build our building exactly on the 90th meridian. So that the 90th meridian that runs through is the axis, the north part of the axis, where actually is the greatest survey accuracy. So we have a strip running out from the building of the 90th meridian.
Now, that 90th meridian runs north and gets into goes through very strategic, but it comes down through Bangladesh, it comes right thru the center of population the most highly concentrated of all humanity. And you find that the 90th meridian really becomes a highway, if you want to get one meridian nearest the most people, it would be it. And it is that north and south one.
Next picture please. Now we are looking at the world as if you lived in South Africa. I spoke to you about the couriers coming from Australia to Churchill during W.W.II and I put the pieces together with Australia at the center, and they said “Well, that’s the way the world really is why don’t people make maps that way?” So this one is South Africa’s viewpoint.
Next picture. This is north pole viewpoint.
Next picture. And this is the United States viewpoint.
Next picture. And here we have India’s viewpoint.
Next picture. And this is the equatorial stretch out. You can take on my map pieces and go right around the equator that way.
Next picture. This is going, making an equator this is a path I gave you of the going around the world where you don’t touch any continents. But it is a path where the all the astronauts all of our vehicles went off on this path every time.
Next picture. Now, I’m going to show you something here quite interesting. This over-the-north flying. Having become way back in 1927 when I was starting my work, I really committed myself very much to an over-the-pole, north north world. And in, as W.W.II was coming on, I told you I used to be on I was Science and Technology Consultant to the staff of FORTUNE MAGAZINE but also I was a main advisor to LIFE MAGAZINE, and LIFE MAGAZINE asked me, after I left TIME, INC. if I would come in as Consultant. And they were planning, they wanted to get up an issue, they were reporting W.W.II in a very big way, and it had been joined by the Germans and the English and so forth, but the United States was not quite in yet. This was before Pearl Harbor. The LIFE staff asked me if I would get up a grand strategy of the best way to lick Hitler as you know Hitler was then pushing everybody in the water. And he was in central inland there and pushing people to the water, near the water.
And they asked me if I could develop a grand strategy for the United States. Later on I learned the grand strategy that was taken on by the United States, was Churchill’s grand strategy and he called it the “soft belly.” He had the Americans come into go to South America and go across North Africa, and then come in on the “soft belly” to Sicily and Italy this was the weakest part instead of trying to go across the channel. Later on they do go to the channel but not until they had weakened things very much from the South.
At any rate, they asked me if I could develop a grand strategy which would lick Hitler. So I proposed going immediately over the Arctic and flying all the logistics, not doing ships of the sea, but getting into towing, have airplanes that were towing tugging airplanes were pulling gliders, which was used a great deal during the war but enormous gliders. And the gliders were to be designed in such a way as to be actually usable as part of buildings and so forth after they landed. I worked out the complete logistics, they were great plywood cylinders, and you had a standard nose that would go on there, you had a standard tail that went on them, and you had a standard wing section that went on them, and they just had to be gliders to be towed. And, I had friends in the Air Force who were working on towed gliders, so I found that was a practical thought. And I was going to use then, the wing sections became parts of the roof section and the cylinders, after they had emptied all the cargoes out of them, became columns for assembly of the factories assembly buildings and so forth at any rate, I proposed coming in and joining up with Russia and pushing Germany into the water. Because you had to get behind. And, at any rate, the LIFE staff got very excited by this, so they spent a month or two working with me, and we finally got up and so we finally published it in life. And this is the piece.
Next picture. And then, that was the cover of LIFE where that came out.
Next picture. Then this is a letter which you can’t read, written to me by the Senior Editor who did all the war things of LIFE at that time telling me, certifying about this being my strategy, because all of the meetings were held at his house. And that because something very interesting happened. They didn’t put my name on the story. I left after that I went to Washington and I became Head Mechanical Engineer to the Board of Economic Warfare. There was a man named Gary Underhill who was the great strategic arms man Advisor on Life magazine, he had grown up in the army the United States Army, he was the son of a General, and he knew all the clothing all the trappings of every division of any of the German Army, and he was incredibly well informed.
He was, he had been taken to Washington, then, as head of one of the departments, I think it was G-2 or something like that. One day, in Washington, he asked me to come and have lunch with him, and he gave me a copy of Wehrmacht, Wehrmacht was the German military their great military magazine. And they published it in the format of LIFE more or less copying it. But it was the only real big news that the armed forces of Germany had was the Wehrmacht. And in this copy of the Wehrmacht, they had a reproduction of the LIFE article, and the German General said “this is the only way we could be licked, ‘ but he said ‘ the Americans are too naive to do this.” So it was really very interesting to have such a document, and so the head of G-2 gave me the Wehrmacht magazine to take home, and I have it, and the boys who have been getting ready for this show, photographed the old Wehrmacht magazine there. Now, but I just do that to show you how you really can, by being a comprehensivist get to really see things. So things that I have been saying to you about where we are on economics at the moment, I want you to realize I have had insights many times the way things are really stacking up. And, I hope this helps to just give you some confidence in the things I am saying.
Next picture. This is just more of the Wehrmacht story. Go through quite fast. There they are towing the gliders.
Next picture. How you would take off with them and so forth. We went into really absolute detail about this, and then, the other experts that LIFE took on were really able to get into what all the armaments, everything that would be necessary for the proper attack.
Next picture. Next picture. Keep right on please with these pictures. We can get through fairly fast. This is where it was this is the cover of Wehrmacht that their statement came out in. This would be about it was just about the time my map came out in LIFE in the winter of ’43 early in the winter of ’43.
Next picture please. That’s the reproduction in Wehrmacht.
Next picture. Now here I am showing you something else, because I have been talking about tensegrity, and I explained to you about pneumatics and that the tensegrities really are then visible the compression members in tensegrity are visible paired molecules of gases going in two directions. And this is now, a geodesic dome made in the following way. You’re used to pneumatic buildings. Where you have the whole thing filled with air, but here we don’t do that. We have two geodesic domes, one about 6 inches greater radius than the other, and all the pattern is done very neatly, and the right dimensions, and one is sewn inside the other, and there are webs on the triangular lines, webs between the two. Then we just let air into this, between, so that the atmosphere makes the inner one as I said, the metal one pushes it outwardly at any rate, they just stay absolutely by themselves you don’t need to have air inside your whole dome, you only have to have it inside the wall provided it because we know how the molecules operate because they go into the dymaxion pattern. So, here is one that we made, would you remove me from the picture. And, I have it supine, and we have made them with compressed air bottles so that they could be dropped by helicopters or airplanes these were all dropped by airplanes over the Arctic onto great, enormous islands of ice that float over the Arctic. And scientific teams were put under those during really since W.W.II. And they this is what they lived in. This made a beautiful dome, and they had a sponge rubber floor about 6″ deep which was good insulation against the ice. I got many, many letters from scientists living in those domes, and.
Next picture. It just popped open. You just touched the thing, and the thing gives its shape right like that. And, you can see, then, your triangulation, and you can see how the webbing is done.
Next picture. There is a man standing on top of it. Just as rigid as steel.
Now, I saw that you could go even further than that. That we could cut out the webs of the triangles, because it was only the triangular forms so that’s the way the pattern of the molecules go in.
Next picture. So here is, then, a geodesic made where you only have a plenary chamber of the tubes themselves. And this is the shape it takes. It pops always automatically takes that shape. I want to give you more and more confidence in experiencing with me, I said the reduction to practice, and you’ll really learn whether your theories are right or wrong, that’s why I’ve given every kind of a test I can. And it has proven out absolutely superbly. In pneumatics it has to this is the shape it wants to take. And it takes it.
Next picture. Now here I also I’ve talked to you about delivering whole cities by air, and the in 1927 when I started in on thinking about “dwelling machines” for human beings and mass production “dwelling machines” to live in, environment controls. I then said, “You can’t assemble things and move them over the highways, because the railroad bridges would automatically be like a sausage machine and give you that shape that’s exactly why the trailers are the shape they are they are allowed only 8 feet wide and such and such a height. So they are extruded by the bridges, and I said “I’m going to have to have some way of delivering the dwelling facilities, the environmental control by air to be transcendental to any bridge or anything like that.” So that I got into then I assumed right from the outset, the air delivery of buildings. And I assumed right from the outset that I must meet the most formidable conditions. So my first thoughts, actually, were of installing delivering a ten deck building, which would be used by remember I was in the Navy, and I am doing my thinking the year of the Lindbergh flight. And I came out I was thinking about the Navy strategy of getting across the ocean there would be stepping stones, you would go to several islands. You wouldn’t try to do it all in one piece you’d like to make it a little safer.
And they had then, I said “you could fly over the Arctic” because a great deal of the year their water spaces open up. So I planned a building for an aeronautical maintenance crew who would live in the Arctic, and we would have, then, stepping stone flights over the Arctic. And I’d be able to take care of. It had to be a building then, that was so absolutely complete that people just moved in, they didn’t have to have any time, they would freeze to death putting it up and so forth.
So I, I went into the study of the this picture is really sad because in the upper right hand corner, there, it should be up on the left here, there is a zeppelin. I had gotten in then to what weight was necessary, using a spine and tensegrity forms of tension webbing and so forth, to make a ten deck building. What weight could I really get it down to to do all the things that we really needed to do and I got down to a weight which I found, in the year 1927, called the scantlings of the design data on the Graf Zeppelin which was about to be built in Germany, were given, and what she could carry, what her useful carrying load would be. I found my ten-deck building could be carried by the Graf Zeppelin.
Therefore, go back to that picture again, if you don’t mind, please I had then the this was a cartoon and in the upper left hand corner cartoon I had the zeppelin with the ten-deck building suspending horizontally below the zeppelin and it looks just like a very large cabin on the zeppelin. And the zeppelin drops a bomb to make a crater, and then they lowered the building down into the crater hole you can see the crate hole in the middle top picture, and they go down then, and they fill it in again, planting it like a tree. And it had all it’s integral sewage disposal and everything, and the thing went down in the bottom there.
At any rate, I knew I was not going to be loaned the Graf Zeppelin and so forth, but I knew that I was actually working within logistical limits, that it was a feasible matter to talk about delivering a ten-deck building by air. And I said, by giving myself the worst condition you could possibly have at the North Pole, this would be the test I’ve got to have some limit conditions. There would be no building department at the North Pole to say you can’t do it. It is very interesting, the first use of my geodesic domes, were exactly that, got to be the Radomes for the Defense Early Warning System up at the northern end of Thule and so forth. Where nothing else would work.
At any rate, there is your 10-deck building, and the 10 deck building is done with you see all this wire, wire work and had pneumatic floor triangles and so forth. It had, like ships, built-in booms on the upper right hand side you’ll see, there is an enormous aerial, there is also a vertical wind mill of the Flettner type, and there are built in arms like the booms on ships for loading. And, if you’ll remove my figure from the picture for a moment. Look at the lower left hand corner and you’ll see a bathroom being hoisted on the cable by the boom to be brought in the building. You bring everything big into the building from outside you just open the building on the side, just swing things in instead of trying to bring things through the central elevators, which is really a very poor way to do. But if you load it the way you can the ship, will just swing the sides of buildings open and swing big things in, and then close them up again lock them up. At any rate, this is how the whole thing was designed, and I want you to see that it did have, right from the outset, integral use of wind power, and it’s tank in the base had all plans for using the human wastes and so forth the energies that were in them, because as of that time, it had already been proven at the chemical engineering section of the farm engineering of the University of Illinois at Urbana, that the amount of methane gas in the human family waste or farm family would be enough actual of energy to run the farm machinery at the time. So that, incidentally, one little man took them seriously, and went into the development of a little automobile in 1929, and the UN I went to a meeting of the UN last year, they asked me to come down there, and this little man has been running his automobile on the methane gas from the family ever since 1929 he was no trouble at all.
At any rate, I want you to get, these early 1927 plans for the Dymaxion House and buildings, I want you to understand what is in there. You had to be totally responsible for all the needs of the human beings that are going to be in there, and you had to be able to deliver and take away.
Next picture. I said that, because this picture and the one picture before can you go back one picture of the air lift? In l954 which is quite a long time after 1927, United States Marine Corps the Head of the Aviation Logistics.
It had been found that the United States Marines and the Army and so forth, had really no proper air deliverable environment controls, and they had given out contracts to General Motors and they had given out a large number of contracts I think something like 20 or 30 large contracts two year contracts somebody would develop air deliverable environment controls, and they didn’t find it. And suddenly, this Colonel Lane who was Head of the Aviation Logistics of the Marine Corps found that I did have the geodesic dome and they went into very, very thorough studies of them. This particular one, this is a place, Orphan’s Hill in Raleigh, North Carolina, we had it’s 1954 and we had the first lift of my dome. This is the first time I saw one of my buildings really being practically taken somewhere, and
The next picture of it please. In the next one oh we’ve skipped one. We flew it at 60 knots that’s 60 knots is where the hurricane begins, so it was a great test of just the hurricane stability of my building, and then we got into the one that you’ve just shown.
Can I have that next picture back, that one you just ran, in again it was another marine corps flying an open frame building. Now that’s the very first one, the Orphan’s Hill lift. Then, then came the one moving at 60 knots of the same dome. But I had to also do my first calculation of how you apply this sling to know how much stress it would be distribution of stresses.
Next picture please. It is the there we are now this is a much later phase of the dome being flown from Quantico, Virginia, at the Marine Corps Headquarters. And this dome was made out of magnesium tubing, and the Marines, a group of Marines assembled it in 135 man minutes, and it was really quite a site to see this thing go together. This was a large dome. This is a 50 footer, and so, in a 50 footer you have about 2,000 square feet of floor space, it was comfortable for really quite a large all kinds of activities, and for small planes. These then were flown, they began flying these from aircraft carriers, and it was quite a site to see them, come up on they assembled them down on a lower deck and came up on the elevator and then the helicopter would pick them up and fly off with them off to the mainland. And to see the skins flapping, they always flew them more than 60 knots, and the helicopter pilots found that they behaved beautifully, there was no yawing around, they actually were very steady a very steady tail. Took the most comfortable aeronautical position.
Next picture. So I just want to go back, then. The idea of what I thought could be done, the air delivery of buildings, for the first time was done in ’54 and then we began to use bigger and bigger buildings by air. But during W.W.II in Washington, when I was on the Board of Economic Warfare, I also, as I said, Head Mechanical Engineer, but I also was on an Inner-Agency Committee of different agencies of the government, also other foreign governments who were allies. And I was on the Committee of Alternate Resources. If something was not available, how would you solve the problem with other resources? And, at those meetings, the Chairman knew me well, but when he saw me come in, he’d always say “Please don’t ruin our meeting with those houses by air, please.” And that was ’43, and then by ’54, 11 years later, I saw the Marine Corps really flying them. And if the Marines the Marines were suddenly starved on their budget, but they had plans to really get enormous numbers of these things. The ones they did have, they were in typhoons in Okinawa and so forth, they were the only things that stood up time and again. They were very, very stable.
Next picture. The next picture. I just ran those because I want to show oh you have to try that. This is a picture of a Piosekki carrying a dome for the Ford Motor Company of 110 feet in diameter. That is 10,000 square feet of floor space, and that dome, they carried around, and they brought it into all kinds of shows, and finally that dome went to Seattle and became the Ford Company Exhibition Dome at the Seattle World’s Fair. And this, then, told me that I could really now we’re talking about again, quite a number of years ago by then we are able to deliver 10,000 square feet. The curve of increase of capability , because since then we have had the Vietnam War, and the development of helicopters has just been phenomenal. We are at a point now where it is truly feasible to deliver, we are going to be able to deliver really, stadium covers in a day, by, we’re in that magnitude. In other words, houses buildings by air could not be more practical so think about your architecture be sure to be thinking about houses by air, buildings by air, that’s the way it’s going to go. And we’re really going to manufacture them in the aircraft plants.
About, immediately after W.W.II, big aircraft companies trying to find peacetime business, before we started giving the aircraft companies a round of jets, they didn’t know jets were coming. They were looking for business, and the Lockheed Company got into what they called General Panels Company and that was, Conrad Voxner was the architect, and Gropius at Harvard designed General Panels. And they found they were simply producing units to go into the tailor-made buildings, and that the people who were designing the buildings themselves, didn’t know what they were doing because they were really making parts for something so inefficient that it just was not a good business.
About, it was about six years ago, I had a meeting with the Chairman of the Board and the Vice President in charge of Scientific Research of Lockheed at Burbank, California. And they talked about their ventures into General Panel, and how that was the wrong thing, and that they had, however, they knew all about my house, they could not really accredit it. Though Beech Aircraft had developed a very good prototype, Lockheed didn’t think it was going to happen. But Lockheed said to me that their Vice President in Charge of Scientific Research, that, they were now at a point where there were, on the actual drawing boards, and most seriously they were considering the fact that there was a limit to continually building longer and longer runways of airports for bigger and bigger ships taking off horizontally. They were going to have to get to the vertical. And the English had already actually licked the vertical takeoff. So Lockheed was really planning its future on the vertical takeoff. Felt it was the only way to carry on and it might get to the point where you really had vertical tugs and so forth, for your earlier take off and then get your acceleration where you take on the horizontal form of the flight.
At any rate, they had their ways of solving those programs, and so they then were no longer limited to the size of runways. They also then cited to me a law that I will recite to you, a law, that every time you double the linear dimension, you increase the volume, the payload by eight and have only four times as much surface, so that driving the friction of the skin of the ship of the sea, or the skin of the ship of the sky, that friction is the four-fold and the payload is eight. So every time you double the size you have twice the advantage in delivery of the payload. So the bigger, and bigger the ship, the more worthwhile. But the bigger, and bigger the ships then the longer the runway, so they said we would have to go if we want to get into really big ships we were going to have to go into VTOL.
So they were getting into all new, they had it on their drawing boards and in engineering, very complete and serious studies going on for a longtime of their era of the vertical takeoff and the really big ship.
They were designing, and getting into ships designing them up to 10,000 passengers, and when they got into that kind of a size, they said, suddenly the relative size of apparatus for your living and so forth to the totality, the synergetics of the big buildings continually improves in such a way that they said it suddenly would be absolutely practical, they could see, for the aircraft industry really to be in the building business. Because it would be highly feasible to build very large skyscrapers in the aircraft plant horizontally, come out horizontally, fly horizontally, and then up-end at the site. So they said, that they now, for the first time, this was 6 years ago, accredited my that you could really prove it on the in the computer and so forth, it would be terribly worthwhile for the aircraft industry to really get into the building world. This is when I am talking to you about delivering whole cities by air. You will understand this is within the considered feasibility of the serious operators of the aircraft industry today.
I know that it is highly feasible to deliver whole domes, where I could get to l0,000 square feet of floor space like we were doing back at the time of the Seattle World’s Fair. I can give you very, very large domes. I gave you yesterday the energy efficiency, that goes up every time you do it, so I have gotten into studies of whole community under one single dome, where you live in the garden, and it’s not going to rain on you, and where you’re going to conserve all the rain, you’re going to catch it all in the gutters so you can have the water, and it doesn’t have to go down the storm sewage, you’re going to conserve it. And where things work out really very, very economically, and very well. You get to what I call the OLD MAN RIVER PROJECT.
I want to come back to sort of the larger philosophy in relation to what I’ve been talking about the ten deck buildings, and air deliverings of the buildings and so forth, because, it was 1927 and I went to 17 years before I first actually witnessed and air delivery. And then I saw it really did become a very practical matter, and I’m quite confident that we are going to see in a very, very big way but the point is, it gets to be, I had to assume about a half century that it would be fifty years before it might begin to have real-true relevance in the economics of man. I plotted many curves that would give me some clue as to how long you would have to wait for various things, and what I used as most importance, was the rate of increase of tensile strength in various metals particularly getting into the aluminum alloys and into the nonferrous, which were a very low order of strength when I first started, and have gone up to extraordinary strengths.
But I also had to assume in 1927 the largest clear plastic we had was the watch crystal, and it was celluloid, and it was not a water-tight at all, and it got yellow very rapidly, and it scratched very badly. And this is simply what they made celluloid dolls and things like that, and it was highly inflammable. It was not until, well, in 1927 I started these things. That’s all I really had to they had at that time poker chips which were opaque, made out of casein from milk. But there were great indications of developments in the plastics, and so I made the working assumption that I would come eventually to clear material, that you could see through, that would not be glass, that would be lighter than glass, and would be almost as scratch-proof as glass and so forth.
I made really a lot of working assumptions like that, and tried to use the curves of already developed phenomena, to give me some idea of how fast I could expect the others. So when I was really designing a structure a house, the Dymaxion house to have windows all around I was not planning the weight of glass. Glass is very heavy, and so I was waiting on a plastic, and finally a plastic that I would be able to have hermetically sealed.
It is interesting that three years ago four years ago, now, we installed at Bear Island a geodesic dome with pneumatic pillows, triangular pillows, because they would not wave in the wind, because they were both positive and negative curvature. We filled them with carbon gas because they will not fog up the way air will. Two of those pillows got damaged by little kids the first summer four years ago, but the others have been through, now, four winters and many hurricanes, and they are in absolute perfect shape. It’s interesting how superbly they hold up, and there is no leakage to plastic at this point, and nice clear plastic, so inside you can see the stars, and it is a beautiful dome to live in. My grandson lives in it.
Now, I just mainly at the moment am talking about, youth is impatient, and I have so many young people, or even middle-aged people who have ideas, and they are terribly impatient about how to get this thing going right in a hurry. And, that’s not the way things are, so I just really want to warn you, and things that you might feel yourself, constrained to commit yourself to, be sure to really make studies about what your expectancy is so that you’re not going to be discontented and so forth and lots of people have thought I’ve been frustrated through all these years, I’ve not been frustrated at all because I realized what’s going on it’s due process and checks and balances, what ever it is, Nature is at work, gestation has been going on. So, I really, it was exciting because I said 45-50 years was my expectancy before you really would see serious use of mass produced houses coming by air and so forth. I think we’re going to be just about on. That was 1927, ’77, that’s quite a long way away and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we really there’s just no question, I think you’re going to see it. They will be running on schedule. So I’d like you to have a feeling of a confidence in the things, provided you don’t just really guess, but do a whole lot of get other rates of change that continguous phenomena that give you some kind of a clue about how long you’re going to wait for something to happen.
I also would like to introduce just this minute, the, I’ve talked to you a long time about my daughter the first daughter having apparently telepathic sense. And all of us having certain things happen in our lives sometimes, many times, that we can only explain as telepathy. And, I began I really felt right from the beginning, after that experience with our little daughter. I don’t have something called magic. If something is going on, and there is some kind of a generalized principle operating here that you may not be familiar with, but you’re going to find out what it is. So the best I could surmise was that there was something called ultra-ultra high frequency electromagnetic waves remember that was in the early twenties, and we don’t have at that time radio waves were a mile long. We didn’t have any short waves. Short waves don’t come in until the ’30’s, and we ended W.W.II, where the shortest wave we had was 2 1/2 meters, but we came out of W.W.II with very much shorter. We were getting down into very small magnitudes.
And as I said, the higher the frequency the shorter the wave the more interference, and we get into the little ones where there is so much interference you couldn’t send them any distance. That’s why we get these walkie talkies that are very high frequency and such interference you don’t have to get a license because they’re only going to go for a very short distance, so that you don’t it’s not going to involve a whole lot of humanity, or very much of the environment. At any rate, I want you to think about then, the before W.W.II, when the new television was coming and the English already had it the plans were of those in the electronics world the market development to market such phenomena they were planning that television, then, was obviously going to need continual entertainment the way they had announcers people talking on the radio and they said, “it is going to be a much more expensive kind of show, when you’re going to see things.” Therefore they assumed that it probably would have to hook up with Hollywood or New York, it would not be available in the small towns, the kind of talent you would need to carry on. So they were assuming that they were going to have, because they knew of the interference with the waves and the only bands that had been reserved by the different governments for television were very high frequency, short waves, and so they were assuming coaxial cables running from city to city, and then they would broadcast locally from high masts and would not have any interference problem with the horizon. And, so, during W.W.II, it had not been realized that we were going to get more and more use in the radar and so forth, getting into really very, very much shorter waves. And when the War was over, then, and incidentally, we can take a very small we mentioned this before a candlelight by putting a reflector behind it you can concentrate that radiation which is going all directions and it is more effective if you put a lens and bring it down even more and then maybe even get a light of a candle to be seen several miles away as a light house.
So that you can take very small energy outputs and by “beaming” very much increase the power of the beaming. I became tremendously interested in “beaming” and I wrote quite a lot about it in my book NINE CHAINS TO THE MOON in 1938 when I was Assistant to the Director of Research of Phelps Dodge Corporation, and I was getting into all this copper and much of the electronics world, and I found the I prophesized in NINE CHAINS TO THE MOON published in ’38, that “We will be ‘beaming power'” and I am quite confident that we are quite close to that now.
Where the business of beaming made me feel, it was very interesting then that during W.W.II we got down to where the waves were short enough to be in a sense reflectable by a very small reflector a reasonably small reflector. Otherwise they would have to have something very big. So that, we have then, when the World War was over, and we did get into the television, began then to send the programs from city to city, not by coaxial cable, but by having transceivers, a sending reflector and then a receiving reflector at horizon distances, and you find those all round the country and as they picked up here, and then sent out again, they simply boosted the energies to keep it going, good and well powerful very powerfully done. So the I became very interested then in the further thought that I have this experience of being with audiences thousands of times now, and I’ve got to be able to see the eyes, and something goes on with me and the audiences, and they apparently really do talk to me and I want you to I am reasonably sure, that is one reason why I have been able really quite a few universities where we even started talking at 8 in the morning and ended at 3:30 the next morning, at Cal Poly-tech, things like that, it’s because something goes on between and the people are able to talk to me, or they wouldn’t carry on that long, and I get something back, and do respond to what they are thinking.
At any rate, I came to the conclusion that it could be that our eyes are transceivers in other words we pick up this way because the waves are so very, very fine, it would be so easy to pick up, and then we send everything back into our television studio in the brain. Nothing goes on in the eye, except it is just the transceiver. And it also, then, sends out. And this became very interesting to me. I have been going over SYNERGETICS with you and I know that just from your eyes speaking to me, you have been surprised quite a number of times by what you were learning, but I have made in my life, several hundred real mathematical discoveries, that there is no record of anybody knowing of this this was so before this relationship existed. And every time it has happened with me, I have a very peculiar experience. I always have an experience of that this was known long, long ago I call it intellectual mustiness, sort of a feeling of maybe not on earth this has been known by Mind previously and in some very long, long ago time. I get this feeling time and again. That this has been known Wow! But not necessarily on earth. Now, I want you to think about the idea of the eye as a transceiver. We know, then, that with very small energies, you can “beam”, but also if you go out through the sky and don’t go through the clouds and so forth, you have, really, very little interference. Therefore they have been able to take very low order energy extremely low energy broadcasting and they have “beamed” a signal and bounced it off the moon with incredibly low amount of output. So I said, “It could be that when you and I look out through the sky, look out this way and that, we look at the stars there is a tendency to be very thoughtful looking at those stars, that we may, you know, we might literally be broadcasting, we might be sending out in the stars. And if it doesn’t run into some substance, or run into something it, it would bounce and angle off someplace else and still have some value. But, if you happen to be looking at the moon in the right way you might get a bounce back, if you’re looking at the right point. But not too likely, you might, but at any rate it seemed to me, it could be, that we might be really broadcasting out signals that don’t run into anything, but just go on and on and on. So, I said, that it could be that when I have had, made a discovery, that I really have received this information from elsewhere. Or that I saw it in the sky or something last night and I began to process it, and by today I am actually saying it. The message has been deciphered and coded and so forth, and I am suddenly getting the message.
Now, this began to introduce me to the thought that all the knowledge that there is of Universe may have at various times been known to various people in various places and does get sent out into the Universe and gets picked up around the Universe. Now one of the experiences I do have is that and you have it too you have an idea and somebody else, if you don’t do something about it, then tomorrow somebody else has it, and you said “I wish I’d done something with that,” but I think there is an enormous amount of reception of ideas. Certain ideas are Synergetically inescapable as a consequence of living in an environment, and this happening and this thing and they just go together and make people think them. But there are other ones that seem to be pretty remote, kinds of discoveries that I have made from time to time.
But, I want then, to further I’m trying continually to let you know how I simply see myself as an average organism and if we begin to pay attention, be just as sensitive as we can be, we may catch on to some of the things that are going on with us, that go on with everybody, and it might be to advantage for us to find out the fact that we have the that we are given are endowed with the capability to find things out, I say we are supposed to be using it. I think this is a very important part of the design of Universe that we are given these capabilities so that we’re really meant to explore alright, and to keep on pushing.
But, connecting what I am saying to you now with the idea of patience and trying to understand that we may be really human beings are really receivers of information, that we are supposed to be doing certain things on our planet, and the whole thing works with absolutely superb it seems to be you, you don’t have anyone else to say that that’s where you got it, so, you seem to be acting. But I want you to understand, I look at myself really very much as an agent as I am trying to be a very effective agent all of us are. And I’ve tried to be a very responsible custodian of the information, and I’ve been giving you my strategies about that, but look upon there has to be a Mr. X and a Mr. Y in Universe, in history, evolution goes that way. So you can perform Mr. X function. But I don’t make this a personal matter at all. This is something to be done and things can happen for humanity a little more quickly by our being on the alert and really trying to help it happen. It’s trying to happen. It’s trying very hard to happen. And I keep trying to see what Nature is trying very HARD to have happen. She’s trying very hard to make man a success. Just trying very, very hard. And he’s so used he’s got such an inferiority complex, he’s so used to being afraid, that he doesn’t heel on it.
Now I’d like to get back to our picture and so forth, and the last I was giving you airlifts of buildings, and I started off, really however, talking grand strategy, giving you a mini-earth and geoscope and trying to see things in big ways. And part of my seeing things in big ways saw that I’d better get traffic of large environment controls into the air. This would be the most comfortable way for them to go, and if they were well designed they could take the high speeds of hurricane and better velocities of delivery and so forth. So, this picture I am looking at, remember again we had that ten decker for the North Pole. And because I had now found this was feasible, this then made it possible.
May I have the next picture, I then made myself a world this was before I did my regular map projection. I have rotated the earth in such a way that you would see the most land in one anyone picture. And this was it, and the Riviera was the exact center of that circle. Which seemed interesting because a lot of tycoons had found it a pretty good spot to get into control things. And, at any rate, I made my best picture I could trying to feel our earth as a planet. I wanted to get a sense of planet. And this picture has always had that kind of effect.
And then, on that planet, now that I knew that I could deliver buildings by air, by zeppelin, I had found that that was practical. Then I said, supposing then, by then we might have some world airlines we did not have world airlines at the time there was an over-the-channel flight in England, there was a Florida to Cuba flight at that time I did this, there were possibly one or two other very short jumps
I said I’d like to think about World Airlines, and if I could put air deliver to a hostile place where nobody has ever been able to go before, environment controls for maintenance crews, I could then think practically of stepping stone flights and so that I then put on this map, if you look at it carefully, in the upper left there you will see a ten-deck building, and you see one in Greenland right in the middle of Greenland. And you find one way up the Amazon, that’s the lower left, and you see them in the Sahara I air delivered them to places where living was almost impossible for humanity at that time. I had one in Alaska, etc., and so forth. So I then, with these able to be installed at strategic points, I saw that we could have the reasonable expectancy of length of flights for that time to make it possible to have airlines.
Then I showed on the map, if you begin to look quite carefully, you’ll see little airplanes flying around. There is one right over Dakar, and there is one crossing the South Atlantic, between South America and the Sahara between Dakar. That flight came in. And, at the time, I did this, and if you’ll study this map, it has been published elsewhere, you can find it in the DYMAXION WORLD and so forth, the reproduction here is not really sharp enough to be able to see it, and some of the corners have been cut. But the point is, then, that you’ll find on it, the present major airlines were on here. Stephensen who was a great Arctic explorer at that time told me this was the first map of the world that he was aware of showing the flights of the Arctic.
And, see, this is a 1927 map. But I also then call this, down at the bottom you can read, I called it a “one town world.” And I saw that if I could have my airlines and the communication, then I really could begin to think about it as a “one town world.” This is really the beginning, later on I invented a term, “Spaceship Earth,” I did that at the University of Michigan in 1951 in a lecture there, and then published it a little time later.
But, I have been trying very hard at all times to get society that I talked to, to think about the whole of that planet always to think in planetary planning. And, so now we are beginning to bring together geoscopes, seeing the whole earth, seeing and feeling those resources, thinking about how we integrate. Taking the information you and I have as of this moment and we have some very extraordinary information at this moment think, we really can put those satellites there, we can do some incredible things, and we’d better start doing them. I said, we are in a very bad moment I’m going to reiterate this, I’ve said this to you before, but the psychological warfare between the great powers who are really going to run the earth, and the working assumption the ecology the great ideology it has to be you or me, there is no question about things have been done to try to make America break down, lose it’s confidence in itself, and to look askance on technology, and really practically hate anything and everything that is its possible salvation. So I would like you to be sure to consider that, and get yourself house cleaned of, get right to what I am going to talk a good deal about my feeling about the great mysteries and God and so forth, but I say really really get onto God and start talking straight the truth, what is it all about.
Now, I’d like to show you, there is a little footage, a moving picture footage about dealing with airlift, and I’d like to have that come on. This is on the aircraft carrier I think it is the Ticonderoga, and that’s the elevator coming up through the flight deck. This was done on my birthday, July the 12th, look at the tensions that it is taking up there on her, and they take her up with that nice skin. This is a 55 footer that was put together in the 100 and and watch it fly, they fly that at 65 knots that’s full hurricane, and it looks just, just great. (From the audience “How heavy.”) That was 1400 pounds, it was a magnesium frame. 55 footer. Look at her trailing there, that’s at full 65 knots now, she is really out pretty horizontal. And no yawing around, not doing anything like this, very comfortable.
Now, we’re going to come into some of the other early reductions to practice. And I’d like to go into the Dymaxion House again.
I had the ten-deck building, and I thought I must get down now down to what the little individual’s own dwelling would be, and this is all in 1927 also. And, so I’d like to go into some of the things that I said I must do with it. I liked the idea of having a single compression mast because a boat, I was a sailor, and I knew then I could hang tensions coming out at different sling angles if you take two suitcases like this it is really quite comfortable, the more you try to go out horizontally the worse the strain, but also the more tautly it gets, so I saw it could have a really tensionally supportive compression rings, like a wire wheel. So I took a wire wheel turned over on its side, let the hub of the wire wheel be the mast and just extend it so then I would have tension coming out here to the compression rings. So it was my first tensegrity idea where I then had discontinuous compression and continuous tension. But I wanted to use gravity all the way through. I think you’d better remove my figure from in front of this, and. you see the mast itself there, and that mast this was really, I don’t think my arrangement of my pictures is right, because I had it without the mast on it. There are tension cables from the top of that mast to the six corners of the hexagon you see flying there, it looks like a halo, and there is a crisscrossing so that they will not rotate around, and, then there was a second set of tensions from the outer hexagon corners down to you see three booms hanging there. Those three booms hanging, they are also then the tension members come back from them down, they come down to the ground and there is crisscrossing so that they won’t rotate.
I went into the complete study of not just how to make a building, but all the manufacturing and so forth. And the mast that you are looking at there, the top of it is transparent and it is a sun machine. I’m counting on picking up the sunlight and distributing it through the house. You’ll see below the transparent translucent cone of the top, there are louvers, that is where the air for the house is taken in. And just below that there is a little fin, and then below that you’ll see some openings. And just inside of that we have a single lighting source, but the lighting source and the heating source for the house are all the same it is a solar system. I’ve a little solar system, and I’m going to bring the big solar system in through the mast whenever it is available to build this energy and heat and light into the house, but also then I found an enormous amount of heat coming from my electric lights, so I might just as well combine the two. And so there was a central lighting there, and then I had transparent no hollow ceilings. They are prefabricated and they are triangular form, and hollow, and the end comes up to those little openings in the mast where the light came in, and I had central shuttering, so that you could make any color light over the central light, so your whole ceiling was translucent and it was a reflector; so that the light from the central source then was reflected through this translucent ceiling at any color you want and any magnitude, and she could just simply shutter how much you would like to let in and not let in, but the heat from this central source also came through holes in this it was perforated translucent ceiling and there was air drawn out around the floor so that the air, whatever temperature it was, would be drawn down to you rather than letting it keep pulling upwardly.
And, we had, then, also, the windmill for the top of the house, so that you were going to use your windmill power to pull air over preferred circuits. Now, the mast, then, was preassembled with all this equipment in it very much like assembling an airplane or an automobile, so it was a sort of caisson, and it was my prime, and then all the other things folded up in it in pretty small packages.
May I have the next picture. I’m really quite sorry because I think there was a picture before that earlier that showed the packing crates I had, I designed all my packing crates and everything was good for all the shipping I must be utterly responsible. And, see if you can’t find an earlier picture in there showing those packing crates with the mast standing there it is, there it is, there is the mast, and the septic tank base. Then you’ll see just to the left of the base of the mast, the ceiling pieces that are hollow ceiling pieces made out of aluminum. Then you’ll see to the middle lower left wooden packing cases, and in those are all the space dividers. I said we don’t want any partition just as you shunt past I only want something that stops you where you really are having some machinery that is going to really serve you there anyway. It ought to be like, a tree is going to serve you, so you come to a tree and that’s fine. These must be very natural stoppings, then between the ends of these pieces of machinery we will have pneumatic sliding doors, and I said you’ll always use a light cell to move it, you mustn’t get hands I found one where the greatest disease transfer is is on doorknobs and so forth, so I want to get rid of those things. So the packing cases there do contain, for instance, there are coat closets, and the coat closets have a vertical hanging they’re hemispherical coat hanger that comes out into the room, the door rotates so that half of the space has a half circle, in a ring, and you have all the clothing hanging from that I’ve seen clothing stores do that now days, but there was no such thing then. Then there was a shoe rack that went around just hanging below the clothes. Then the things that are horizontal, I had shelves that were mounted on cables, that were Pater-Noster (like shelf) and went up, and the shelves could come to the exact height where there was an opening where the children couldn’t get up there until they were the right age to just reach things out, or you could just press a button and watch things go by bookshelves or whatever it is, and then you could take out what you want.
So, those were the kind of things then I had my prefabricated bathroom. This is 1927 and we did get into, there was no such thing as home dish washing, or home launderers, or anything like that at the time. Nor was there such a thing as home air conditioning. But, I really did bring in all that technology, and very much from the ship, just from the submarine and so forth, I would have to do that. So, all the parts of the house are lying there.
Next picture. So now that mast, was opposite I showed you already, and then the six compression struts, there were three that were hung from the ones above now three more had been inserted. And because it had been pulled in like this, they stay in the compression ring very neatly. Then there were some tension plates that have been slung where the floors are going to be.
Next picture. Then the first floor decking has been put in on top of the slings and then the space dividing machinery have all been installed, and so we can see doorways there. We are looking at the present time in a bedroom. Now there are two bedrooms, and this was approximately 40 feet in diameter. I did it on a metric system at the time because I wanted to get metric drawings in such an industry. But, you’re looking at one of the two bedrooms and you can see an opening on the wall where the closet, where the shelves come to, and then there was a large utility room which you could call a kitchen, but also the washing machines were in there, and coming through the wall from that was a stove and an icebox and things, where you could get things into the living room out of the far side of it for the table. The living room was a diamond shaped one, was approximately 40 feet diagonal, corner to corner it was a big room, and then there was a library.
Then, down below we have the garage and hangar, large enough to put a light plane in there.
Next picture. This is before those deck plates had been pulled tight. These are not quite the right order.
Next picture. Now the second floor has been put in and those ceiling pieces that do the reflecting of the light from the central mast have been put in place, and there is where they also deliver the air, they are planary chambers for the air and the light into the various rooms.
You can see a reflection on the floor of the blue room towards you there. There is a lady lying naked on the bed, there, because this was all air conditioned and so she would not necessarily need very much clothing, because she could make the warm air come to her any ways you want it. But you can see the reflection of the light from the ceiling there on the floor, because I told you the light is now operative in the center of that thing.
And, next picture. Then they put on the top floor deck for the roof to go on.
Next picture. Then the railing is put in for that.
Next picture. And then the canopy. Now that top deck again was very large and it has central drainage so that any rain that comes in beyond the roof there comes to the central and we catch that back into a cistern, so we catch all the rain and anything that lands on the building. You can see the translucent light at the center. Then I said, if you have opaque walls, it is very difficult to let light through them. You can cut a window through but that takes a lot and it is very expensive. What I can do is have transparent walls and then I can just shutter them, which is the way nature really does with your eye shutter they are very delicate membranes.
When you get down to our only reason for wanting we have something called privacy, and there are four kinds of privacy the olfactory kind of privacy, there’s tactile privacy, there is aural privacy, and there is visual privacy. This is the only sensing we have. Therefore, if I can’t smell you I have olfactory privacy. If I can’t touch you I’ve got tactile privacy. If I can’t hear you I’ve got aural and if I can’t see you then I’ve got visual. So I saw it really takes a very delicate membrane for not seeing, and I noticed that at garden parties in the outdoors, the acoustical absorptions are so good by the grass and the bushes and so forth a group talking over there you can’t hear them over here, really quite a short distance away. The acoustics are so good. So I if we could get the right acoustics operating here, we don’t have to get to too very great distances we would then have this occulting, or cutting off of the line of vision.
And so, you’ll see in the lower left part of the house, the window there, a triangular so I had little aluminum roller screens, that pull over onto the floor and then came up vertically like a camera shutter, than the other one coming down so that the two came together. So they went up like teeth coming together here. And I found that I could then give you all the opaquing you wanted but when you did want to see out you could have a complete seeing out.
Now, next picture please. I’d like to be out of the picture. Now this is one that I did for, in 1927 the Russian Revolution had been going on for, let’s see ’27 just ten years. And they were having mobile farming operations. We have mobile farming operations today, but they had then enormous cooperatives they’d move it along to do things and I learned so much from this, dome, rather mast, principle. I saw I could use a tripod base, and a mast coming from the tripod with tensions would be a very stable mast, and some good staking down deeply with that you would have great stability, and then I could hang up a structure around it that would make very possible that truck that you see over there is carrying this I thought it would be possible to develop a really pretty first-class mobile dormitory for mobile farm operating teams. And that is what you are looking at there. I published it in SHELTER MAGAZINE in ’30 1930 yes.
Next picture. There are the, you can see the dormitory things, in there is a central area, and a whole lot of living around it, and I used an airplane wing type, really a foil, very strong overlapping the other the horizontals for the closure. And that they could be trucked really very, very effectively, and relatively lightly.
Next picture. Looking there on I have a mast. This is the first one I ever made. I made an aluminum mast of three parts, and then I ran my tensions out to a horizontal compression ring of separate tubes with a little universal joint, and then having tension members triangulated this way and triangulated this way. So this was my first real and then It came back to the base again, but it made a sort of a double wire wheel but it was my first tensegrity. I want you to understand that I had been thinking and feeling tensegrity long before I got to identify it with my energetic geometry. And had really been able to use it quite effectively in the first Dymaxion House. I say this to you because I feel tremendously tender about Ken Snelson, a very extraordinarily beautiful artist. Ken is a did was a real catalyst, and he changed completely my realization of how I could really use that in my energetic geometry. I had been wanting to use tensegrity, but he gave me all the key, and so I feel very greatly indebted to him.
But, I say, he’s gone on as an artist, and I think there is a, I know Ken terribly well, there were times when people would say Bucky is stealing your things and so forth, he doesn’t think so anymore. He really appreciates what we are doing. But I want to be sure, I’ve never talked tensegrity without everybody knowing what a part this boy played in this victory.
Next picture. It gives you a little idea of what I looked like in 1928. This is a map of the drawing of the geodesic of the Dymaxion House turned sideways because of our projector being easier to see things that way. And you’ll see two prefabricated bathrooms at the center, around the mast, and they had in the mast I had an elevator, and the elevator was in a triangular shaft, and it was a tetrahedron itself, so there was no way it could fall out. You can understand, it was triangulated this way, and then it was coming down the track there was just no way it could cock in the shaft so it was a very safe thing, and I found it really quite easy to actually screw yourself up, and if you wanted to do that, it seemed to me that that would be a very, very, very useful way to carry on.
I also had the center of it also I did have slide-down shafts the way you have in fire houses, which seemed to me to be very desirable way to get out of your house. But here, this whole thing came out three and a half tons. And when I did produce the actual first of the Dymaxion Houses at the Beech Aircraft, and I really followed the same mast principles all it came out three tons. That was in 1943-44-43, from 1927, so that it was a beautiful vindication of the calculations of 1927 for the weights to come out alright.
Next picture please. Will you block me out here? I’m very, very fond of this picture because it was a watercolor done by my wife of the Dymaxion House in those years. We have now been married, we were married in 1917, so we have been married going 57-58 years now. And her support through these years was just incredible, because she had she did not really understand precession and so forth, and I said I’m not going to earn a living, and we just had this beautiful new child that is born after what we had been through, because we almost, due to the enormous pain she went to look out for being the oldest of ten children, she really stayed with her family we were almost apart while I was living around the country working on these houses, and almost separating us, and suddenly this new child, and so that she would go along with me in the experiments was really she, she, it was very, very, extraordinary faith in that I had something. That’s the way she felt about it apparently did.
At the time, in 1927, when she made this painting of the house, the models had been made and that I have been talking about, she thought that it should be seen in some kind of a proper setting, so she made this lovely rendering. And, my brother who was an engineer, three years younger than I am, really a very beautiful boy, he died 15 years ago, but he was very, very fond of me, but he also didn’t like what, to him, seemed to be a lot of dreaming. And he felt that I got into a lot of trouble, and he felt that I kidded myself a great deal. And he was incredibly precise, I think because he simply was worried about me, he even went out of his way to be even more meticulous in the way he said anything.
The year that this happened I got a telegram from him in Pittsfield where he had gone to work for General Electric and he wrote, he telegraphed me saying, “I’m engaged to be married to the most wonderful girl in Pittsfield.” The other people said “in the world” but he could only check out Pittsfield, and this would be typical of my brother. (Bucky really chuckles about this). And so he always felt very, very badly because I said I was going to wave my hands and open the doors in the Dymaxion house, and he said there is no way to do such nonsense absolutely nonsense. And, not long after this, I got a telegram and it didn’t say “Thank God”, but he indicated that he said “We have discovered and developed the photoelectric cell here, and you can get one of these for 72 dollars, so that I was vindicated about waving your hands and not having door knobs. And, he wrote time and again to say “Bucky, would you please tell me what this Dymaxion House is all about?” And I would tell him what it was all about, and then he would write back and finally my wife saw that I really was quite put out, because he said “I wish you’d stop all that philosophy, and just tell me what it’s all about!” And, so Anne Anne wrote a letter to him that we have, if any of you get that little reprint of 4-D, which we have a record of the letter is in there I think, in which she explained to my brother what it was that I was up to.
But the only real proof I have that Anne really she really didn’t know what I was talking about but I think that such principles that you would not have to earn a living things like that, she didn’t discuss that part, but she just simply said that she knew I was passionately committed, that I really was convinced that I knew what I was doing. She says that, but it is very important that we have been able to we have lived through a great deal together, and she I think, she was born in January and I was born in July, and in every way we opposed like that, and as I say, where you are so really different if you really can get on then it is really great. But it is very productive, because we are so different. And, I don’t want to have any such meeting as we are having here without having you all know how moved I am by the backing I’ve had. (You can really hear it in Bucky’s voice, here.)
May I have the next picture. We really have seen that before.
Next picture. Now we are coming to the development of the Dymaxion Cars, because underneath my house I had a Dymaxion vehicle, and I was planning to deliver it by air. Therefore it could be delivered to very remote places, and yet it had to have it’s own autonomous equipment so that it would operate where it got to, so it didn’t have to have its methane tanks, and it did have to generate its own energy and gas, and it did have to use the local wind and sun and so forth. But I, if she were going to be delivered by air, then there would be no roadway to get there, therefore I’d have to have some kind of a vehicle that would get me there and make spot landings the way a bird can land, without prepared landing fields and so forth. I’d have to have something that could go possibly overland if I could, if I could go on the highway it would be fine, but I also had to be able to go by air and water. So I wanted to develop an amphibious kind of a vehicle. If you could remove my face from in front of the screen, because I would like to be able to look at what you’re looking at here. I then came to went through the following thoughts, and what I’m going to talk to you about, you will a good many things have happened, really happened quite beautifully.
I want you to remember I was in the Navy and I was also involved with the early flying of the Navy, and Pat Bellinger who was Commander of my first operation down, when in the Navy I was in charge of all the boats that were patrolling and looking out for the first of the naval aviators who were practicing at Hampton Roads, and where we had our main Naval Air Base station, and we were losing an aviator a day where these single pontoon, or other boats where they would trip and the aviator, belted in, would be head down in the water. The ship upside down.
And I developed a way of developing very fast boats that had a boom to grapple and pull it up, out into the air, so the water could be gone, so everybody could get underneath and get him out. And that’s what got me sent to the Naval Academy. Well the Pat Bellinger, the Commander of that operation there is the one who did send me to the Naval Academy, was one of the first four fliers of the United States Navy. And he then later on was one of the great Admirals. And, Bellinger and I talked a great deal about propulsion for the airplane, and he would like very much to have seen a turbine, and he was very interested in my idea of a using liquid oxygen to produce, then, very enormous pressures of air. If you let one single drop of liquid oxygen expand in a pre-expansion chamber it would give you extraordinary pressures it would make turbines operate very, very powerfully but they would be cold he wanted something that was not subject to the freezing condition. Because as you got into the sky, in those days they had a lot of trouble about freezing. We had many water-cooled engines, and as we went up, you would get up and put rags on as we got in it got cold as you were getting into great altitude you sat up in your cockpit and put rags on the radiator so it wouldn’t get too cold. Lots of problems about the freezing and getting up going up 45 degrees below so he was very eager to get into, and he liked the idea of steam. But that would get you into freezable water, and so forth. So the idea of liquid oxygen he thought was very good, and I did get into a great deal of inventing and thinking about liquid oxygen propulsion in 1917.
And so, coming back then to a vehicle which would get you from here to there where there would be no prepared landings, and no highways, and, you might just be able to come down by air, but you might be able to come by water, you might be able to come by highways some other time an omni-medium vehicle. And I saw that there were two kinds of fundamental flying. There is the soaring bird, the gull. But there is also the faster flying bird, the duck. And the duck cannot soar. It has really very small wings. And I saw that what happened with the duck is that in the first place I’m going to point out to you, everything in the Universe is in motion, and everything in the Universe is in motion moving in the directions of least resistance.
I saw it is possible, then, to improve the directions of a preferred a direction you’d like things to go by making it easier to go in that direction. This was something quite different from the propulsion. So that the shape you gave to a boat or an airplane was very important in relation to its having a preferred direction, and you can control that preferred direction and go in that direction the easiest way.
So I saw that birds are fantastically beautifully streamlined that way and the ship the fish was beautifully designed in this preferred direction. But a lot of things you may not have thought of as having that, I saw did have. As, for instance, I want you to think about a carrot, or various, think of fruits falling from a tree, and it is very necessary to get the seed very deep. And if you’ll look at the shape of the fruit itself, it is streamlined to go in a preferred direction, and the apple drops in such a way, that the seeds get definitely aimed it splatters and it aims those seeds the right direction, so, with force they will keep working down into the earth. You find many of these things, the tubers and so forth, then, are designed to streamlined the carrots, streamlined to come out at the right time. It moves out of the land and suddenly breaks away it’s little hair root, like letting a balloon go, and then it’s streamlined and will come right out.
So I saw Nature used an enormous amount of preferred direction streamlining. So I said, I’m going to think then about how this duck flies. I find what the duck does as you know, we can build up momentum as I gave you just the hammer thrower. So the same way, a pole vaulter, can then, with his pole incidentally, a man a naked man who is a good athlete can high jump to a little bit over the height of the man. But the same man with a pole making him weight more than just the naked man, can then start running towards his bar, and using his momentum, putting the pole in the ground, then it carries him up where he goes and jumps, sometimes three times the height of a man. So, seemingly he has been weighted. With a pole he weighs more than he did when he was going to just high jump by himself so, but he makes up for that by running and building energy into the situation with the momentum. So, with the momentum he’s going to go in this direction. When I saw then he could get up, and supposing you gave as he went up over the bar, you had another bar waiting there, because he has the motion going this way then he’d keep going along, he might go along on one pole after another quite a way. And this would tip and then he would grab another and keep on going. So he might carry that momentum quite a long way.
Now, I saw that what happened with a duck is that the duck starts running on the water literally running on the water really running very hard, he gets up on the surface and scooping his feet right along like that beautifully. And, meantime flapping it’s wings very hard. It builds up enough momentum forwardly and its streamlining is so superb in the direction of least resistance. It is going really fast, then suddenly where a little bit of air like this like the pole vault gives him a little vertical height. And then with this little vertical extension he now then falls in the direction of least resistance as he leans his head a little more like this gets another pump so he keeps giving himself a new pole vault and he keeps falling in the direction of so you watch the duck going on and he is continually falling and getting new lift and falling, and he gradually builds it up into a little more altitude. Anyone who is a flyer knows, for instance just taking off of the aircraft carrier, that the first thing you do is to nose down towards the water and build up a little more speed by getting gravity to help you, so we’re getting off you always do this. So that is all the duck is it is continually using gravity to accelerate him a little more. Having built altitude, and the gravity is pulling on him but he has the direction of least resistance and enormous forward momentums, therefore, you see, he simply gravity is going to help to pull him this way. So he keeps building that up. So I saw then, when the duck came in for a landing, as he finally got up to a good altitude good speed, he now no longer has to have rather vertical these are what I call air stilts jet stilts. These are jets, he propels, he really propels the air out from under his wing like that, it’s a jet. So he has two jets and those jets are controllable in that direction, so to start off they are quite vertical then, as he gets building up his speed, begins to get them going backward a little more so that they begin to push him forward at the same time. And he finally gets to where he builds up a little lift on his own head and his back, because he is designed that way also, a little longer distance of air over the top of him so he actually begins to build up lift. They do that actually, the blimp flyer, people who fly these rather slow balloon things, then they can put an attitude and begin to get lift on it and then they can really get much more forward out of it. So, I saw then that the designing of this duck indicated that we might be able to develop a vehicle without any wings, because the duck was not using wings for soaring, that’s the only reason we had wings on the airplane it is really a soaring device.
And so, I said, if you do that, then the vehicle will weigh very much less. In order to have wings you have to have very powerful spars and the weight of the airplane is very greatly increased over what it would have to be if you didn’t have wings. Therefore I could have a vehicle weighing very, very little superbly streamlined, and which would, then, have what I called “twin jet stilts.” And they are twin controllable angle jet stilts so that I could start off then running forwardly, and then giving myself a little “jet.” But my jet would be a turbine jet so that there could be more or less of a continuous jet effect, and I was planning on using the liquid hydrogen for my propulsion here. So that your vehicle would have wheels, and you could run along on the ground, build up some and then suddenly give open up the vertical so it would give you some altitude, and the angle of the you’d have two jet stilts, and you’d have them going a little bit outwardly like that so that they would converge above you here above your center of gravity. And the third pole would be the falling pole. Gravity would make the third leg, because then you’ve got your momentum to stabilize that.
So, I want to come back to another experience you have. If you’ve ever done stilt walking stilts. Now here you’ve got, I gave you, remember, two poles standing up and they would could go anyway, but two got together and then suddenly they could only act like a hinge. So on stilts you’re on a hinge so you’ve only got two ways you could fall backwards or forwards here. So you start to fall a little forward and then you just move the stilt forward and it makes a third leg, and it stops you there. So now you’ve got a new hinge and you hinge this way, so you start to go that way and then you move this one over here and it stops you falling in that direction. So, this little delicate falling forward and just simply the ability to change to the third compression member, and that’s always initiatable. So I saw in the same kind of a way, then, as that, my twin jet stilts first giving you the verticality, and then building up momentum forward and getting out flatter and flatter. Then when you want to come in for a landing you could do this but your jet stilts can be quite wide, if you want to have the hinge wide or narrow. And all of these would converge above you so that you would be hanging from it, if you were up on top of it, it would be top heavy it must be convergence of the vectors must be above you. At any rate, this was my theory of what we call then Dymaxion Vehicle, and I called it the OMNI-MEDIUM TWIN JETS ORIENTABLE STILTS VEHICLE No TRANSPORT.
So, obviously, I was not going to be able to get that kind of equipment right away, but I’m quite confident you’re going to see what I have given you, because in the years that have happened since that, suddenly we did come when I talk this way, in ’27, there came a chance in 19 the picture you saw of some little vehicles there. May I come back to that same picture there the first picture in this group. Here you will see some of those vehicles. They are, you can see them on water. There is an entry. It is a V-bottom and you see the two points of contact, and these are pictures of my vehicle going through the sky. Those models, I had drawings of them and Noguchi he was a very great sculptor friend of mine made me some very nice clay models and then we made them in plaster and colored them. And the New York automobile show the year before the episode I told you about of Chrysler, was the, this was the year the New Deal came in and everything was absolutely stopped, and they had the hall all hired, and very few people put any automobiles over there, but they had seen my models in an engineering book shop on Park Avenue, so they asked me if I would come to the show, and I did, and I had a booth and talked to I described what the models would do what I hoped the models would do what the theories were.
I had a great many, very interesting conversations one of them was with Bill Stout who was the man who designed the first Ford tri-motor airplane. And Bill Stout later on then he was President of the American Association the, what is it, the automobile designing group? Society of Automotive Engineers SAE. And he wrote a very beautiful article about my vehicle and vehicle theories for their magazine, and then Bill later on built what he called the Scarab car in Detroit a couple of years after I did the Dymaxion Vehicle. Now when I did this Dymaxion Vehicle, as a consequence of the automobile show, and then the real things, the Crash, things were really settling down economically, and I, somebody said, “I would like to back you Bucky, you have a whole lot of ideas, and I’d really like to see some of the things” the Depression was completely on and somebody who had some money said, “You might just as well have some of the money I have, because it seems that everything is just going away anyway, and maybe something you could develop would be worthwhile.”
So I said, I wrote a little simple, very simple, contract that said, if you’ll let me if I can spend it all on ice cream sodas if I want, then I’ll take the money, but it must not say what it’s going to do it’s not for profit or anything like that. And that turned out to be a very good contract later on. Because after things began to go, then everybody thought that this person ought to make a lot of money and so forth, but we did not go into it for venture. I was not trying to go into it for I just don’t get anywhere if you’re going out doing things for profit, I learned that in the housing world.
So, I went then to Bridgeport, Connecticut I went to Bridgeport, Connecticut the day that Franklin Roosevelt declared the bank moratorium it was just the day of his inauguration, and the person had given me the money several weeks before, and I turned it all into cash, and luckily I had turned it all into cash because suddenly the bank moratorium there was no money anywhere, and I arrived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the only person in town, not only with money, but my pocket was full of it. So I went from being the most ineffective character that ever happened to suddenly being very effective. And everybody wanted to work for me.
So, everything was shut down, and nobody had any jobs, and I got part of the this is my building in due course. I got the old Dynamometer building, of the old Locomobile automobile, which was a very great automobile in its day. And they had gone absolutely bust and the banks owned them, so they rented me this building which had been the Dynamometer building and, which was out on a point of land in the harbor a very nice point. And in there I produced the three Dymaxion Cars. Also up in the front of it you will see a boat upside down. And I got Starling Burgess who was a very great ship designer, but also a great aeronautical designer to come along with me as my engineer. A very extraordinary man Starling. Starling to anybody in the sailing world, knows all about him, but not so many other people do know of him. He did, with a man named Dunne who was a very great scientist in England, James Dunne, developed the Burgess Dunne airplane for the United States Navy in 1912, and it was the first hands off landing ship, and it was the first delta wing. There was the delta wing that came in many years later, they suddenly went back and found the Burgess wing but it was a plane where the pilot could literally take his hands off and it could land safely without any trouble at all self landing.
And then Starling designed he was there, if you are in the yachting world you know there is a six meters, and eight meters and the ten and the twelve meters are very well known the twelve meters are usually in the he had invented all those classes of sailing boats, and designed the best of them. He also designed the last three great “J” boats after W.W.II the cost of boat building so went up that you had to race the 12 meters which were pretty small boats, but the last of the big boats were the “J” boats, and Starling designed that all three of those. Before him, his father, Edward Burgess, had designed three Americas Cup defenders so it was very much of a family tradition. He designed the Puritan, the Bounty and the Mayflower, and they all beat the English. And, Starling Burgess’ brother was the chief mathematician for the United States Navy’s “lighter than air” structures. That’s for all the zeppelins and everything he was a very extraordinary mathematician very extraordinary kind of a family.
Starling himself was very much of a mathematician and but a very eccentric man. He had gone to the same school I had Milton Academy quite a few years before me. And he was terribly interested in my ideas on Dymaxion House and all, and he was very eager to work with me on developing my vehicle. As I said I one thing, I don’t have enough money being given to me to produce a Dymaxion House. That would cost really millions I’d have gone into that very clearly. Further more, I said, I cannot possibly develop the new propulsions means, therefore what I will do, because the automobile world is producing all kinds of equipment that I can use, I can test the ground taxiing qualities of my omni-medium transport, because the most dangerous phase of flying or shipping is when you hit the land whether you hit a rock or whether it contact with the crystalline, because in the air you are in a load distributing element, and once you launch your beautiful ship in the sea, all the loads are beautifully hydraulically and pneumatically distributed it is terribly safe, until you get to a concentrated load of a rock, or a pier, or another ship, so the most dangerous condition of flying is when you make contact with the earth.
I saw that with a completely streamlined vehicle when you got on the earth, because if you are a flyer of a light plane you know that she immediately as you land if there is a cross wind she wants to head into the wind and the old planes used to have a great deal of “ground looping” it is called, and this very violent swinging around, maybe you would turn upside down really often crack up a ship just after landing with the cross wind.
So I said, with the kind of streamlining I’m going to get into the “fairing” has to be absolutely superb, therefore she will want to head into the wind. Therefore, on the highway I can’t control the wind, so her ground taxiing is going to be, how is she going to maneuver? What’s going to happen? So, I built this vehicle to test the ground taxiing qualities of an eventual omni-medium transport. I did not go into designing an automobile. But here it was running on the ground and I had to get a license from the state to be allowed to take it out on the highways, so that in the end everybody called it the Dymaxion Automobile, and many people, incidentally, said to me, after I built three of these, “I’m sorry your car wasn’t a success.” And I’d say “What do you mean?” They said, “Well you didn’t get it into production.” I said, “I wasn’t going into business, I was producing a vehicle. And it was extremely successful. I learned an incredible amount.” And actually it has effected it did effect the whole automotive world. They did learn many, many things from that car, I assure you. And they did change a great deal of the grand strategies of the automotive engineering.
Now it was an interesting vehicle in that it also, like the bird, or the fish and so forth the propulsion is up forward abreast of the center of volume, the center of gravity and so forth, and the steering is in the rear that’s the way a bird, that’s the way nature does it she doesn’t have the fish with it’s tail out in front trying to steer. It seemed to me nothing more stupid than trying to jump overboard and push the bow of the Queen Mary around. Anyway. What you do, because the rudder really uses low pressures and so forth, so it is a beautiful thing to pull this ship around. So I felt, anyway, that the way to do was to do what I said, it would have to be front traction tractor-and rear steering. So it was the first vehicle of its kind that I know, that did that, and the only one other thing I’ve seen like that, which has been actually a road cleaner a very slow road sort of thing which you can turn around pretty easy while sweeping the gutters.
Now, to tell you some more, I’d kind of like to get at the fundamentals of what is going on here. You have a wheelbarrow. And how many of you have pushed a wheelbarrow? Let me see hands. It’s a fairly common experience, right. Have you ever been pushing a wheelbarrow quite fast in a field, and then suddenly splat you hit something and it holds you in the stomach? If you put it behind you that doesn’t happen. You can go just as fast as you want to over any open field, because you’re pushing it down into the ground that’s your force and if you get a bad bump it’s just going to stop there. But if you’re pulling it, you are lifting it off of the ground you pull it over the humps. So I said if I pull my steering wheel is not going to skid, if I push it down, all the cars we have are front steer and the weight of the they are literally being pushed down into the ground, and that’s why the racing steering has to skid all of its turns. It does not steer around at all. It is a stupid way to have to steer to skid. So really, in all real racing, it’s just a matter of how much angle skid you are really doing. Now once you are in a skid, you really have lost basic control it is really a flying machine now, hah I was just kidding. So it is very important not to get into skid if you really want to keep control, so I’m having a front tractor, and I’m pulling my steering wheel. And I assure you it behaved incredibly beautifully. Furthermore, now, the front steered car, due to the king pins and so forth, you could only get up to 34 degrees of angle before it blocks itself. And I saw that many times I’d like to turn much more sharply, when going very slowly there’s no reason for not getting much more of an angle. So, with my rear steer I could then have a vertical rudder post and with the single wheel I could give it any angle I wanted. Didn’t run into the blockings of the frame at all. So we had a we had a main frame, which was supported on the front wheels, and long undersprung wheels springs in the front. Automobiles have short springs in front and long in the rear. And I found what happened with that was that when you go over a bump you get a little, and the second one throws you off the ground. I found that if you have long springs in the front and the shorter in the rear, you go over the first ones, and the other one is contracting as you are going over here soon it compounds you see downwardly. Whenever we get any interference in the Dymaxion you’ll sit down in the seat twice, not going off the seat at all. It was a very, very comfortable feeling.
Now, these were the things I really needed to try out, and the picture I think it would be a good idea to get me out of the way of this frame. Looking at the frame of that car, I want you to notice all the lightening holes. After W.W.II the Italians begin to build racing cars, because in building a structural, as you learn in aeronautics, if you make lightening holes, and if they’re “dished” lightening holes, you not only have the hole but you push the hole through and you make the lip turn up to give it stiffness around the edge of the hole, these are “dished lightening holes”, you can take 25% out of the weight of the structure without really losing any strength. So this is very worthwhile in the web. So this is, then, we had lightening holes wherever you could have lightening holes in my framing my framing was made of chrome-aluminum-steel as aircraft steel, not with mild steel of automobile. This was a very beautiful work of art.
And, you’re just looking at the front end of the vehicle. The body is going to be mounted on it, so after that base frame, which is pretty well balanced over the front wheels, with the long spring, then we came to what you call and “A” frame, an “A” frame, there were trunions in the rear end of the base frame. The engine was in the rear end of the base frame, and therefore being on the base frame it was directly connected to the banjo(?) gear in the drive shaft, and simply the engine then rotated around the front drive shaft but the only springing was in that way. And then there was an “A” frame, here is the engine mounted here, and here are the wheels up here, and here is the frame, and this trunnions “A” frame and then from the “A” frame there was a cross spring at the end of the base frame, and we had two hangars from the “A” frame which was hinged down to the edge of those springs so that the engine was hung sprung, alright, in this long hinging frame, the whole frame itself would bend on its own part like this. It was a hinge. The frame was a hinge, and it just had a spring to keep it from doing that, so that it was then we had the body was completely separate suspension. Had it’s own springs mounted above this, and it had two short Rolls Royce half circle springs back to the base frame, alongside where the inertia of the engine was. So you can look through a little window in the back seat of the car at the engine you could see that going up and down pumping or the “A” frame going like that, not in any way bothering the inertia of the main body which is on its own frame with its own long springs to the front wheel.
And it was simply a matter of the secondary spring between the body and the and it allowed these things to do anything without really carrying anything through into the body itself at all. Which keeps the body from really tipping too far tipping forward, because we overhang the front axle by quite a lot. The system worked incredibly really beautifully well. I never had any ride in history that even mildly touched this in any kind of vehicle.
May I have some more pictures of the car besides the nice frame pictures. You can see where the front lights are mounted. This is the very first chassis we made. Starling Burgess was sitting up forward there in his flying hat, and the coon coat from the days of the airplanes when the coon coats were being worn, and we were trying out our first chassis and you can see the radiator of the engine in the back there. That’s the drive wheel here is the bow of the ship here is the main drive wheels and you can’t see the rear steering back here, but here’s where the engine is, and that’s where the radiator was inside the body, and we scooped the air underneath the car to go through the radiator.
Next picture please. This is the first vehicle we turned out. We built three of them. It was an all aluminum body, and I did use the this was a crystal it was just a celluloid, or crystalloid they called it at the time.
And the rear cabin. I had on the window top, and I had a periscope so that you could look over your whole car and you could see anybody standing beside the car, back of your tail. It was a beautiful thing. And, this one had a scoop for air to go into the ventilator there, and the engines are in the rear, and you just open the back door there and you’ve got the engine on a beautiful workbench. It was very convenient and you lift that rear bustle to get at your rear wheel if you want to change anything there.
Now, next picture please. Then these are some of the drawings for the second and third cars, I built three of them successively. Each time trying to improve on what was learned.
Next picture again. This is very interesting because now, I want you to look at, I have a car the regular four-wheeled car wanting to get into a parking lot. He has to go ahead of position and then back in and it takes him quite a lot of room to get in there. I always could come in head on, and because my rear steering could go over at up to 90 degrees if I wanted, I could simply go sideways. I had a round nose, and I’d just bring my round nose there was a window frame right up to whatever was in front of me and then she’d just rotate into place, she’d never advance any more at all you’d just throw your wheels sideways. It was a lovely thing.
Used to the news reel moving pictures used to just love it, because they would give me 3″ more than the length of my car, and I was coming down the street like that and going fast and no trouble at all. Because there was such a perfect control there. As long as I know knew the 3″ were there I really dared throw my tail over, cause all I had to do was really watch my front window frame and then the car in front of me.
Now, this is she did all kinds of things in these beautiful ways. And, the, because the, I had the center of gravity of the car nearer the front axle than the rear, all other automobiles have always been nearer the rear axle so that I am really changing the pattern very greatly it meant then that the outboard wheel on a turn the relationship between the center of gravity of your car and the tire where it touched the ground, the outboard wheel needs a fulcrum of overturn. As you go around the turn, what stops you from going forward now is the tire itself, where it touches the ground, and the line of center of gravity of the car pushes at that, so if it is much higher than it by very far it tends to rotate over it. But I kept, I said, my center of gravity so low, and so close to the front axle, that it was really like a gun carriage, you couldn’t tip it over. And while I was driving then, I simply kept my wheel accelerating, and therefore it didn’t go into a skid, and I could give it really, very, very sharp turns. I began gradually practicing what I could do, and I would be able to, I finally found that I didn’t want to do it too fast, and I didn’t want to have a tire ripped off it’s rim by the enormous weight of the car just stopping like that.
I was able to slow down to 15 mph, if I was 15 I could put it into a 180 degree turn and make a turn with the inboard wheel making a circle of 1 foot. I would literally hook around and go this other direction. Now there is no other vehicle in the world that could do that, so that motor cycle policemen would start after me and I am suddenly going the opposite direction, and they couldn’t do anything about it. And they it got to be known all around the motorcycle cops all around the country that it did that, so they were bothering me to try to get me to do it.
At any rate. There was one occasion when they were opening the first midget racing car track in New York up in the Bronx, and they asked me if I’d bring my car there as a feature for the opening night and I did. And they had me parked out in the middle of the oval of the raceway, and so they had an interval break, and they had all the officials got in my car it would carry 11 passengers, so it was a big vehicle. It was 19 feet long, that was the length of the big Cadillac or of the big cars of the day. But I got an incredible amount out of it. I got 11 passengers and getting really very high mileages and extraordinary efficiencies. So the car was loaded up with all the officials of the track and they asked me to drive around the track as just a show for the people, so I went I was just going around and I thought I might as well go fairly briskly, so we were going around nicely, and in it you really just sat up like at church, an extraordinary stability.
So we went around, and I was just really going around quite comfortably, and I thought everybody enjoying themselves, so, they said, “You’ve broken the track record by almost 50 percent!” I could go, I went around the these kid’s cars all skidding around and everything. I really just went around going around like no effort at all, and I broke the track record.
Well, there were, there were bugs in it, and you had to learn those. Number one were the cross winds, and it really was something. She did want terribly to head into a cross wind, and a gusty northwest wind day, cross winds were something. Because I had aircraft stainless steel flexible cables for my steering, because the steering was up front to a geared head on top of our rudder post back aft. So there was no slack in them whatsoever, going through beautiful ball bearing shivs. The kind of shivs you see on sailing boats today, getting to be very lovely kind of shivs you get on racing boats. Starling Burgess was designing, and we made all of our shivs we made everything like that. Got the ball bearings and made some very extraordinary hardware. Because he had wanted to design those kind of things for the cup defenders and so forth, he had already gotten into some very beautiful he had already introduced some extraordinary hardware into the nautical world, and he didn’t think anything at all of getting our own hardware for this car.
So, cross wind, then. What happened was that there was no slack in my steering at all so the tire would distort, because the wind tried to twist me really violently, and the tire, the rubber, just the pneumatic tire would yield. So this could throw whips into you. I had to really learn to be very on a very bad cross wind day it was really like flying a plane, you really did have to learn how to play that wind. So it was not something anybody could have right away, and I knew I’d have to improve those features, and if I do build another one someday, I would know how to do it.
I would point out to you that nature has such problems, and there are one of the oldest creatures known to human beings are the horseshoe crab with this long tail. And they go back to the very earliest of the known creatures. Now their job, life is to cross streams. They are in where the tidal streams are and so forth. And they are designed literally to go cross stream, and hydraulics there is no yielding that there is in the pneumatics, so that they have to be superbly designed to go cross wind or across current. They are designed then, with a whole crescent tail, they have a broad nose, but they have a 120 degree crescent where the section through them, you go up through their nose and take a section back from the middle of the nose, it is the same section through the whole 120 degrees so there is no difference in the drag. In other words you have to have a broad tail I had a single tail everything focusing down to that tail, and then and it wanted to nose right up into the wind, but by having the broad tail you can do that. That horseshoe crab, then, is able to use its secondary tail to help a little on any sort of delicate balance in addition to that release, it can really make its tail go to increase the tendency to let go of the drag in that direction. So it can go across current, and I found it would be just as easy to do that.
So later on I was asked by Henry Kaiser to design a vehicle, and I did design it that way, and I designed that one with the rear steering wheel also on an extendible boom, because I found that when you are not going fast, I could really make very, very tight turns really go right around in a circle here locally. In the garage I could turn myself around to go out the other way right on the spot. But with a long boom you couldn’t do that, it was in the way, so that I could have an extendible boom give me a long wheel base on the highway and automatically contract as she began to slow down and lengthen as she speeds.
Well, that is more or less enough here. At the time of the oh goodness it’s getting late. At the time of the Chicago World’s Fair we had two extraordinary events. One a very, very untoward event the opening of the Chicago World’s Fair in l933 they had wanted to use my Dymaxion House but I had found it would cost much, too much, and I wasn’t willing to make just a mock up of it it had to be the real thing, and so they made a mock up. But, in England there was a man called, his title was the Master of Semple it was a Scotch title, and he was the greatest aviator in England in those days, and extraordinarily well thought of. When the Graf Zeppelin made a special first trip over to the Chicago World’s Fair, and the Master of Semple was invited as the English guest to go on the flight to America, to go to the World’s Fair, and the Air Minister of France was on the trip. These two men telephoned me from the Graf Zeppelin over the Atlantic, asking if I could have the Dymaxion Car available for them to see at Chicago with the World’s Fair.
By this time I let the car go to a man named Al Williams who was the Navy’s #1 speed flyer, and left the Navy to become head of gasoline sales for the Gulf Refining. And Al had acquired my first car for the Gulf Company to use at air meets, and it had become the official car at air meets running around the air field. And when this call came I then got in touch with Al Williams, so he had a race driver take the car out to Chicago to meet these two distinguished guests. They, then the car was put at their disposal with this race driver during their visit. The Graf Zeppelin just dropped them off in Chicago and went back to Akron where it could be moored. The day came a few days later when the word came that the Graf Zeppelin was to return to England and these two guest would have to rejoin in the meantime they had driven the car a lot, and they needed the car to get out to the Chicago Airport in a hurry they called in, so at 7 o’clock in the morning went to their hotel, picked the two men up and started out for the Chicago airport when the next thing I knew there was a NEW YORK TIMES full headline FREAK CAR ROLLS OVER AND KILLS RACE DRIVER AND FAMOUS GUESTS WOUNDED injured and so forth. And I was in Bridgeport, and the Associated Press got in touch with me where I was building my second car at the time no yes, I had just started we were doing the drawings on the second car, and I flew out, and I had an engineer friend in Chicago. I asked him to go and start investigating just as fast as he could. I telephoned him, and I flew out to Chicago, and we found that the car had been removed from this accident. It had occurred just in front of the main gate of the Chicago World’s Fair, and so we found where the car was it had been put in a garage, and we looked it over very carefully, and we couldn’t find anything wrong with the steering gear or the but it had rolled over, and you may remember, my looking at this and saying this is crystagon and so forth I had it a convertible, and I had an open top with the buttoned on canvas canvas top on it here, so we could open it up, and it did, the there were race they had a Al Williams as a flyer, had put in flying seat belts into it, and the driver had one of those on. The car had rolled over, and the top had punched in, and he had been killed the Air Minister from France was sitting in the rear seat he didn’t have a belt on, and I say this canvass top opened, and he just went out and landed on his feet. The Master of Semple was sitting beside the driver, hurt his head very badly, and he was in the hospital in Chicago in very critical condition.
We went to the hospital, and they let me listen to him, so if he were to say anything that would give me any kind of clues what had happened. While I was sitting waiting, the King of England called up he was a very close friend of his, and it really became very much of an international matter. You can imagine how I was feeling here. My car had killed one man, and another was extraordinarily injured. The Master of Semple did recover thank God! And he, the, they had a coroner’s inquest on account of the death of the driver, and the coroner’s inquest postponed the coroner postponed the meeting, hoping against the day that the Master of Semple might recover, because he had been driving the car and was familiar with it all, and he might be able to tell them what happened.
So it was postponed. Sixty days later they had the continued meeting, at which time the Master of Semple told about then that something that had happened to me very, very frequently as they were coming to it was a ten-lane highway, five lanes on either side, and they had been in the outermost lane and a car tried to rubberneck with them. People were always wanting to look at me, and they tried to ride along beside you and getting the it was a very tortuous feeling, these people were looking at you and they were going to run into something. So he had accelerated to get away from them and came into the second lane, and this man, then, started to rubberneck some more, he began really pestering, so he finally got to the middle lane, and this man tried to pull upside, and the man hit his tail and through him out of steering. The precession, incidentally, when you do hit this it turns precessionally.
So, the man who owned the other car was the South Park Commissioner it turned out later. And his car had been moved right away. My engineer friend and I had gone to see the policeman who was on the corner at the time it happened, and he didn’t know anything about this at all, but later on when it turned out that it had been a collision and not a freak roll over sixty days afterwards, so the coroner simply said, well it was a mutual responsibility some kind of carelessness but no real fault of anybody. At any rate, it was not the car. But my car got an enormous kind of a blow. Al Williams, as I said, had been one of the leading Navy fliers, and he said “Bucky your car is in no way responsible, so you’ve really got a great obligation to society to let society know it isn’t the car.” We couldn’t get hardly any publicity about it there is no news like that. And so, at any rate, that’s why I built car #2 and car #3 rather, I had #2 underway, but it’s why I built car #3, to really clean things up. And I think I did wipe out pretty much of that stigma, but you can imagine how I felt, so the
I would like to tell you a little more about back in that operation in just the production. I said I arrived in Bridgeport the day of the Bank Moratorium and the country had absolutely stopped dead and we started, then, developing these cars. In the end I took on 28 mechanics, very extraordinary skilled men, or draftsmen. A total team of 28 in that little building there. And, nobody had any jobs anywhere. For those 28 jobs there were way over 1,000 applicants. And as I found I was going to need I set up my own machine shop, my own woodworking shop, and so forth.
The Rolls Royce Company had opened up an American they were going to produce Rolls Royce in America at Hartford, Connecticut. The boom, the enormous Wall Street Boom just before the crash, so they curtailed that operation but their men were still over in America. I got the two leading Rolls Royce body workers to work for me. They were extraordinary craftsmen. At any rate, had beautiful Italian machine tool men, and beautiful Polish metal hammer workers and so forth. An extraordinary team. At any rate, as I took on my crew, and the applicants nobody had eaten, their families were really starving, and as I, what I did then, when I got too equally good men, I’d find who had the largest family and who hadn’t eaten in the longest time, and I’d take him on. Everyone of the 28 went into tears when I took them on. They were going to be able to go to their family, and it was terrific times I assure you.
Well, so, remember this is the first day of the New Deal that I am opening up there. Then, later on they got the WPA going so they got some jobs, and then they got all kind of inventive jobs and so forth. At any rate, I found that when I was finishing my car, I really only had enough money to produce this one car, and as I got nearer and I explained to everybody I was just going to build this one car, I wasn’t going into business, I wasn’t there to make a profit, I was simply wanting to demonstrate a vehicle and see whether my principles were right. Because the dynamics of this were very critical. So you all understand then that they couldn’t have been better craftsmen, they loved their work, but as they got near the end of it they realized that this is the end of that job, and my family WPA hadn’t made things it was only six months gone by and they, without any conspiracy whatsoever, each one just slowed up like that. I couldn’t get my car finished. The only way I got the car finished was to start car #2, and then everybody got the first car finished.
We have here a moving picture of the launching of that first car, it just runs for a very short moment, I think it would be a nice way to end this evenings session. Can we have that little show?
That’s Amelia Earhart standing there in the middle, and to her right is Sir Kingsford Smith who flew the Southern Cross first across the Pacific. That’s with a little model of my chassis of my car. Amelia Airhart was a very, very great friend of mine. She just really loved my car, that model no longer exists. Amelia that’s Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, she received the gold medal of the National Geographic in Washington and Mrs. Roosevelt asked her to come down and stay with her at the White House, and Amelia said “Bucky, if I’m going down there that’s Starling Burgess by the way the older man by the tail there Amelia said, “Bucky I’d like to have your car to be my official car so that your car can really be in on the celebration,” which was darling of her. But she did things like that all the time. I just saw a man, Coffin, who was the first flyer for Curtis Wright. These were all the wonderful crew I had there the 28 boys in their flying fish coats. Now I’m handling look at how she turns! (Lots of appreciation from the audience.) She was a lovely vehicle!
That’s Starling Burgess at the microphone there, with the Mayor of Bridgeport and a man named Scottie, that mechanic there. There, the local automobile company had a kind of a small raceway there and we were running up and down and people came from all over the countryside to see it.
At the Chicago World’s Fair, another session, the next year, with my car that’s Frank Coffin, I said the first flyer for Curtis Wright the first man who flew under the Brooklyn Bridge.
You can see that canvas top which I am sorry to say the button-on canvas top where the driver got killed. You can also see the window of my periscope there. But she was really superbly turned out. Starling Burgess making building boats for the richest, most powerful yachtsmen in the world, and Starling just said, “you never turn out half-finished work, it really has to be really beautiful.” If you have a principle to demonstrate don’t let it suffer because you haven’t turned it out right.
I was somewhat of a fattie then. I hadn’t eaten for years, and, suddenly I had enough money while I was building this thing I was staying in a boarding house in Connecticut, where they had cake and everything, and I really just ate everything I had been starving for so long.
The, got to the Chicago World’s Fair, and are we still on? We went to the Chicago World’s Fair the second year, I was going to fight it out again, and they had my car do several things. Used to have it doing “waltzing” down in the main it could waltz it really could dance very beautifully. Then every, twice a day they wanted me to run it completely through the fairgrounds as a feature, and then I would end up at the what was called “The Wings of a Century,” and “The Wings of a Century” was an enormous pageant because Chicago had been the great railroad center, so they had all the great locomotives of early history from the earliest locomotives on because they had these great railroad yards there and they rode railroad cars and everything out in front of the grand stand of the “Wings of a Century,” The final episode of the show had me the Dymaxion Car after they had all these 20th century, and all the fast trains and so forth, and I would come in from the Wing it was quite an open space I suppose I would have a length of a football field to get accelerated, so I really could come in very fast, and I got to the middle of the stage in front of the grand stand, and I would slow to about 15 miles per hour, put on my brakes and then throw it into a complete ground loop, and everybody in the stands went up, they were sure that I was going over you see. They’d see me spinning around and I had this fundamental steering so that once you let go of your wheel she would go absolutely in the direction at the time you let go, so that I am sitting on the seat alright. They had a place they wanted me to take position up in the backstage where all these vehicles were all around, so I’d just be spinning around, so then she’d go right up to it very lovely. But it was a she redeemed herself very much in that second year, and that, again, brought Henry Ford’s great interest, and he did all kinds of things, incidentally to help me, during He telephoned to me at Bridgeport when he heard I was doing what I was doing, and he gave me 70 percent discount on anything that Ford Company made that I could possibly use, so I bought Ford engines, and things like that at cost, and I used the, this was the year of the first Ford V-8. So I had his first Ford V-8, and I put aluminum heads on it and things like that and cut down the increased the compression just a little bit, but, I did get up to 128 mph, and all due to this wonderful streamlining. Many times we would go out with another car of the same weight it had to be a pretty good sized Cadillac or a Packard. We’d get them absolutely weighing the same, and we’d get out on a main highway, a good very flat highway on a stilled wind early morning and we’d accelerate up to 60, and I had somebody sitting in both car beside the driver, and he would shut off the engine, and we’d throw out the clutch instantly and then let them slide see how far they would go. The wind resistance of my car was so low that I really went, you know, something fantastic, maybe a half mile further than the other car. They really started off really fast it was incredibly low speed, I can’t really tell you what it really was a very, great, large differential. She was faired completely underneath her belly absolutely faired all the way. Not just a mouse track with open down at the bottom our present cars are very, very resistive underneath but not this car.
Well, all I can tell you is that I’m oh here, here is my car at Wichita, Kansas a number of years later, and to the left is my Seabee, that was my plane. I am surprised how much resemblance there really was between this and the airplane. And that’s the picture that, incidentally, Whitlow talks to you about Ed quite often.
Now, what has happened since is that we did get into the flying bedstead. We did get into, but Starling Burgess used to say, “Bucky, I think your principle would work for just a little altitude above water, that’s the most it could possibly do…”
He did think that it might be able to get enough altitude but he didn’t think it could fly any height. But since that time we now have the United States Marines using the Jetto you know we have what they call the “Jetto” and these are really rockets you can get real extraordinary where you take a plane then, where they’ve had trouble getting off they put these Jetto assists, they’re little rockets under the wings, and it really gets enormous acceleration to get off of the polar areas and things like that. Well, then, now they got a tiny little pod they began to put onto helicopters helicopters where they have a rotor where the wing itself, drives itself around, and they began putting Jetto assists on those and I saw tiny little ram jets, just like a fountain pen put on there, the Jetto assist and then the ram jet two were put on the end of and the helicopter, the Marine Corps helicopter that thing really going fantastically vertical take off.
So then we get where the Marine’s were getting then to have this little apparatus where, in their two hands they have these Jettos and they’re jumping over the barn have you seen them doing it? Well, the point is, they can have a lot of trouble when they tried to make the Marines really tried to make my vehicle and they did not have the center, the convergence of the vectors above the center of gravity that comes down here, and they got them rolling rolling over. The principles worked, I assure you, and it really I’m really quite confident of what I’ve talked to you about. You will see this vehicle in due course, and we’re getting to the point where it is now really practical to have a harness, you put this harness on, and you can have your jet stilts, and I you can go to the window and you can dial yourself a programming now of the directional controls and so forth, so just go to the window and go home. (Lots of chuckles from the audience.) Put on the right clothes.
But, we are humanity is going to do these kinds of things and humanity is going to be doing the ultra-ultra-high frequency telepathy. These are the things that are going to be the surprise items, that are not in the package of human beings to be dealing in now. But I have lived through enough of these things to really feel great confidence in telling you, just really whatever you can do, you’re going to have to do, and you will do.