Buckminster Fuller sought patents for his works to document in an enduring form what an individual could invent for the betterment of humanity. A primary resource for Fuller’s patents is the book Inventions, the Patented Works of R. Buckminster Fuller. Inventions serves as the framework for this three-part essay. Comparing the description of Fuller’s work found in that book with this essay will be most instructive. Otherwise uncredited page numbers are from this book. Dates following patent numbers are the date of the patent being granted. Supplementary material comes from The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller and many other sources. Part one of this essay will feature patents found in Inventions that were made by and assigned to Fuller.
All of Fuller’s patents are lost in some way. At minimum, all of Fuller’s patents are lost in that they have expired. Many of Fuller’s patents fail to mention earlier patents by other inventors. Some of Fuller’s patents are lost because they have never gone into production for their intended purpose. The patent for the geodesic dome is to be found under the title “Building Construction,” which has likely caused some researchers difficulty in finding it. Other patents are lost because they are under documented.