The North Face's 1975 Development and Introduction of the Oval Intention: A Conversation

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Here's a message board discussion by some of the TNF originals on the OutInUnder article about Bucky visiting TNF.

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Here's the first appearance of the Oval Intention in the 1975 North Face catalog. It's easy to see how unique it is when compared to other tents in their line.

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[Note from Al Tabor: Both Mark Erickson and Bruce Hamilton had let me know that they had good stories about the development of The North Face's ground breaking Oval Intention Tent.

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Oval Intention Tent 1975Q: Wasn't there some sort of 'harmonic convergence' involving inspiration from Bucky, you & Bruce for TNF and Bob Gillis in a van that put all the pieces into place to develop the OI?

Mark: It’s late ’73 or early ’74: a beat-up VW van pulls into the TNF parking lot at 1234 5th street outside Hap’s office.  Out tumbles Bob Gillis, his wife and their infant child, scruffy even by 1973 Berkeley standards. Bob’s been knocking on the doors at Gerry in Denver, and, we gather, pretty much every other outdoor company trying to interest them in his shelter invention, with no luck at all. Not surprising given his..shall we say, casual appearance and demeanor. 

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Mark’s recollection is, as usual, very accurate.  And, he is spot on about the benefit I saw in introducing Gillis into the equation to ensure the finalization of our product.
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