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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • WE CAN DO IT! BUT FIRST, COFFEE

Officer Pods: 1943

Officer Pods: 1943

From around 1943 comes this uncaptioned photo, somewhere in North Africa, of Dymax­ion Deployment Units. The prefab huts, used here as officers' quarters, were based on Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion House, "metal adapted corn bin, built by Butler Brothers, Kansas City." Office of War Information. View full size.

 

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Grain bins

We've got two Butler grain bins on the farm here - they're all over the place in Eastern Oregon wheat country. It's easier to haul your wheat to the elevators now, so ours haven't been in use for a number of years - thinking of converting them to guest houses and moving out the pigeons roosting in them - they are sturdy structures to say the least.

Butler buildings

My grandparents usually used "Butler building" to refer to pole barns (vertical sides, peaked roof), not Quonset huts. Butler made pole barns starting in the 1940s and still does today. When I was a kid, it was pretty common to see their pole barns and grain bins in rural Missouri; whoever put them together was pretty good about making sure the painted logo faced the road, especially on the grain bins. They are still around, now as a tentacle of an Australian company, although they don't do grain bins (or DDUs) anymore.

Air Conditioned?

The louvered object in the background looks like a 'swamp cooler' air conditioner. If it was, these are truly deluxe quarters.

Dymax­ion Deployment Units: Three

Deployed Ventilation Units: One

Wow!

If this is represents the officers' quarters, one can just imagine how the the enlisted men fared.

Getting a round to it

Bucky tried to bring the idea of the Dymaxion house to the masses, with little success. One can view the only surviving prototype of this type of housing at the Henry Ford Museum / Greenfield Village.

https://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/dymaxion/index.html

Its a fascinating design but not for the claustrophobic or introverted.

Hungry livestock

In addition to these relative rarities, Butler built enough of the more conventional Quonset huts that the latter were often referred to as Butler buildings during the war. That suggests that their customary line of bins and feeders got short shrift under wartime priorities.

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