1975 December Correspondence Bruce Hamilton and Bucky Fuller

Bruce's Request for Permission

December 4, 1975
R. Buckminister Fuller 
University City Science Center 
3508 Science Center 
Philadelphia, Pa, 
Dear Bucky, 
The purpose of this letter is twofold. The first purpose is to 
inform you of the new geodesic backpackable tent that we at The 
North Face are producing, to ask your permission, albiet after the 
fact, to have used quotations from your writings in our catalogue, 
and to offer you, as an expression that this tent would not yet 
have come into being without your work and as a thank you for your 
work, one of our tents,.
This tent, which I have named in a play on words, The Oval Intention, 
is the combined work of three individuals and is a testament to 
synergy and to human co-operation. Bob Gillis, who has a patent 
granted on "Tentflatables", has a patent pending on the principle 
of flexible compression members which are pulled into preferred 
patterns by an inner tensional skin, in which skin are located rings 
through which rings the flexible compression members pass and which 
rings define the vertexes of the structure. Bob is confidant that 
he has not infringed on any of your or of any other's patent rights. 
His lawyer's preliminary search has turned up nothing to the 
contrary, The second person involved is Mark Erickson, who is the 
designer for The North Face. Mark's reputation as a designer of 
lightweight, life supporting back packing equipment and functional 
clothing is already well established. I am the third person. On 
my decision, The North Face entered into an agreement with Bob to 
develop and produce a tent based on his patentable invention. Mark 
and I worked together as "talent" in taking this tent from the idea 
and model stage across the set of tools and the raw materials available 
to us at The North Face and in bringing this invention from the general 
into a specific embodiment as a mass producible product. I want to 
express that we intended to use your quotations as educational and 
in honor of your work, We sincerely hope that we have not offended 
you in any way or violated your copyright rights.
We would be deeply honored to be able to present this tent to you 
in person. If you will inform me of your travel schedule concerning 
the next time that you will be on the West Coast, from Seattle to 
San Diego, we will be pleased to meet with you and to present you 
with this small gift. If you prefer, I will send the tent to you 
at any address that you wish. 
The second purpose of this letter is personal and if you will bear 
with me for a few more lines, I must ask you for something.
Two years ago, after 'emiting your staff and receiving a reply from 
Timothy Wessels, I sat down at this machine and attempted to address 
you directly, I could not write that letter then, but this time I 
will finish the request that I started then.
I have been a student of yours for the past six years. I have studied 
your writings, participated in a World Game Workshop in Carbondale 
in 1970, and have been studying and experimenting with synergetic 
geometry for all that time. I have a degree from Vanderbilt University 
in 1968 in Biology and Chemistry and having been a pre-med student, 
I received a general background-scientific education which prepared 
me for Education Automation which I found in 1969. From studying 
your work I found a need to understand industry in general and I felt 
that experience in a specific industry would be educational and good 
for me. Hap Klopp, President of The North Face gave me that chance 
hiring me as a "generalist" and exposing me to the workings of a modern 
industry, So that I find myself at The North Face at this time. 
Having a basic comprehension of the general logic resource behind 
Synergetics and practical experience with my own hands, I was in a 
perfect position to recognize the potential of Bob's invention and 
to be the catalyst in bringing the tent into "reality", I tell you 
this, not to draw praise to myself, but to indicate the sincerity of 
this request. The request is this: I have read, apprehended but not 
comprehended, the last chapter of Nine Chains to The Moon, It was 
in manuscript form and was entitled "The Game of Life". I will 
spare you the details of when and where, but suffice it to say that 
the person who let me read it made me stay in his room and he was 
present the whole time, The circumstances under which I was allowed 
to read the manuscript did not help my ability to comprehend that 
which I was readinge I would like to have a copy of that beautiful 
discussion of time, life as time, and the 180 's and 360 's that make 
up our phonetic alphabet. I am frustrated to know that I cannot 
remember more than the general theme and a few specifics such as, 
"TIME is EMIT" backwards.
I think the fact that I was instrumental in getting this tent 
designed and produced has given me the inner strength to address 
you directly, It is not much of an accomplishment compared to the 
work you have done and compared to the work that is to be done. 
Although my future direction and path is unclear to me I hope 
that this is representative of a small step in the right direction. 
Finally I want to take this opportunity to personally thank you 
for all that you have done and will do. Your example and your work 
has been my only inspiration for the last six years, You are 
a great man and I love you for what you are. 
Bruce Hamilton 
PS The Climatron in St. Louis is the most beautiful structure that 
I have ever seen.

The Quoted Text from Synergistics

706.10 Sphericity: Compound curvature, or sphericity, gives the greatest strength with the least material. It is no aesthetic accident that nature encased our brains and regenerative organs in compoundly curvilinear structures, There are no cubical heads, eggs, nuts, or planets. 
--R. Buckminster Fuller, from SYNERGETICS: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, MacMillan Publishing, New York, 1974. 

Bucky's Reply

University Profesor 
Southern Illinois University 
World Fellow in Residence 
University of Pennsylvania 
Bryn Mawr College 
Haverford College 
Swarthmore College 
University City Science Center 
December 16, 1975 
Dear Mr. Hamilton: 
I would love to meet with you in California and 
see the beautiful North Face backpack geodesic tent. 
I am delighted to give you retroactive permission 
to use my quote. 
My grandson, Jaime Snyder, will be in touch with 
you shortly to arrange our meeting. 
R. Buckminster Fuller 
Dictated but unsigned due to absence 

Catalog Images - click for full size.

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