Jay Baldwin's Amazing RV Workshop

Yesterday (13th October, 2018) was the 50th anniversary of the Whole Earth Catalog, and was marked by an event in San Francisco which my wife and I watched via the livestream. One of the people featured prominently in a short movie at the beginning of the event was Jay Baldwin, who was an inventor, protege of R. Buckminster Fuller, and was heavily involved in the Catalog in its early years.

He was also a long-time teacher, and my wife taught with him for many years in the Industrial Design program at California College of the Arts. She and I visited Jay and his wife, Liz, a number of times at their home (a converted chicken coop) in Pengrove, CA. JB sadly passed away earlier this year.

On one of those visits, back in 2004, I photographed the his amazing workshop that’s inside of an RV. He used this very well-stocked workshop for decades, starting in the 1960’s, as an itinerant inventor and builder (long before the “maker” label existed), helping like-minded people build their geodesic domes and other structures and equipment around the country. (Fuller’s picture is in the photo of the cupboard containing “Solvents, brews, carcinogens”…that label also gives a sense of JB’s dry humor.)

(Photographic note: These were taken with a Minolta DiMAGE XT camera, a tiny 3MP digital camera that used an innovative prism system that allowed the lens to be put vertically inside the body, which a sliding shutter to cover the lens opening. It was a great little pocket camera, as its size never changed. But it was only 3MP, and the LCD on the rear was the size of a postage stamp. But it was quite fun to shoot with, if you took care to mind its limitations.)

MMS IdeasAdam Richardson