January 28, 2008

Did Buckminster Fuller Really Design A Crib Called The Kiddie Koop?

Kut the krazy krap; you've got to be kidding: Buckminster Fuller, the father of the geodesic dome, was also the creator [kreator?] of the Kiddie Koop crib? The Kiddie Koop made by the Trimble Nurseryland Furniture Co. of Rochester, NY? That's what it says on the Buckminster Fuller Master Index, anyway. Only it makes no sense.

kiddie_koop_1913_patent.jpg

The Kiddie Koop was first patented by E.M. Trimble & Co. of Rochester, NY, in November 1913. Though he was in the same general area, attended a Froebel kindergarten, and was already known as a tinkerer, I think Fuller, then 17 years old, was too busy working in the meat packing industry and entertaining dance troupes in his dorm room at Harvard to have invented a rolling enamel-and-mesh crib that converts to a playpen.

Here's an image of the Kiddie Koop from an old-timey 1920's print ad on eBay:

kiddie_koop_print_ad1.jpg

Put the lid on, and the Kiddie Koop promises protection indoors and out "against sun, winds, and draughts, insects, animals [and] forbidden toys."

The Twenties were a rough time for Fuller, who blamed himself for the death of his young daughter to polio and spinal meningitis in 1922. In a classic bit of Fuller lore, in 1927 the 32 year-old was drunk, broke, and unable to support his wife and newborn baby, and he had resolved to throw himself into Lake Michigan when he decided that there was a "one-in-an-illion chance" that his accumulated life experience might be of use to someone else or to humankind generally, so he didn't. The rest is geodesically shaped, slightly hippie-ish, guru history.

Except for that crib. The BFMI cites the all-new 1946 edition of Louise Zabriskie's parenting handbook, Mother & Baby Care in Pictures as the source of the Fuller crib credit. Maybe there's a picture of an all-new, Dymaxion-shaped Kiddie Koop the world has forgotten about. We'll see. I just ordered me a copy for a dollar from Abebooks.

Buckminster Fuller bio [wikipedia]
B Fuller Master Index: Furniture: A-L [buckminster.info]
Bucky on not committing suicide, excerpt from Guinea Pig B [bfi.org]

Previously: Holy Buckminster Fuller! Dad makes playdome at home!

21 Comments

When visiting family on another coast as a baby, my daughter (of Skinner box fame) slept in a more modern version of this crib. Hers had screened sides; the top third dropped down. The thing was huge and very satisfactory, at least from her point of view.

Although it was huge, it folded nicely and thus became quite transportable, if you didn't find carting lumber around taxing.

It was Canadian, I think, but I'm almost certain it was branded as a Kiddie Koop. I've got pictures somewhere, but I'm traveling and can't put my hands on them right now.

[very interesting. there was a mention on a BF listserv of a Skinner Box connection, but I never saw it. And since it predated Skinner and Skinner Boxes by several decades, I figured it was one of those after-the-fact things. -ed.]

My three children were born in the mid-fifties. They were fortunate to have a Mom who cared greatly about their safety and well being. In spite of chiding from others about putting my kids in a "chicken coop", the Kiddie Koop relieved me of any and all worries about their safety. Once, I found ants on the top unable to get inside.
Thanks to this inventor. I loved the Kiddie Koop.

hey what i wanna know is how do you really know that mr minister really created the Kiddie koop i have one and i really wanna know who created the kiddie koop Jimmy L everett I can be reached @ everett34walker@yahoo.com

[that's the point; there's no mention of Fuller at all in the book that is cited as the source for the credit. -ed.]

Hi,
I have an antique business and I have a true Kidd
Koop everything looks like it there. If you want more information you are welcome to email me. My name is Kathy Everitt my husband Lee and I have Cappleman's Antiques in Iuka, MS, we are the biggest Antiques store in Northeast MS and have been open since 1975. My email address is pacrat21@bellsouth.net. If you want to see pictures just let me know.
Thanks,
Kathy

I purchased a couple of folding wrought iron bistro tables and chairs from you a year ago and i was looking to buy more if you have them please e-mail me asap thank you

guess again. you may be referring to an antique store mentioned in this post, but no one on this site has ever sold a single bistro anything to anyone.

I have a Kiddie Koop that I purchased from an auction. It was manufactured in Toronto, Canada. Could you give me an idea of how much it might be worth.

no idea.

Rosalie said:
I've looked for info on this baby bed for years.
I have the one that was brought for me as a baby.
I was born in 1942 when WW2 was going on and my family lived in a rural area of NC. Remember there was no AC back in those days. I along with several of my younger brothers and a number of cousins used it until probably the mid fifties.
I have the four sides of the bed, the top, and springs. The front has 2 sections and the top part folds down. I guess so someone could sit on the side of the bed with the baby. I don't have the wheels, but wheels can be found in most fix it stores. I've moved it from NC to FL, to CO, FL, GA and now back to NC.
I kept thinking I would restore it some day, but that's not likely to happen.
May 10, 2010 2:14 PM

our children grew up in the fifties and we had kiddie koop my parents bought for us and what a blessing - unfortunately we got rid of it years ago - wanted one so bad for our grandchildren - are they still available? the regular cribs are such a safety problem, it's too bad these cribs are not on the market - you could roll them outside in the summer and not worry about bugs - oh, the good old days - thanks, carol

Hey, I've got one of those things. My wife and I bought it at a yard sale a few years ago. I'm wondering what it's worth.

probably not much.

I have the C.1913 Kiddie Koop. I recently purchased the Kiddie Koop in York PA and now its in Baltimore City, MD. I use it to keep my two roosters in at night. They crow early morning when most are still asleep. So I have this Kiddie Koop in our Garden House and my roosters love it. Husband inserted a divider board to keep roosters apart.
I love the Kiddie KOOP. from children to chickens,,,one, two legger to the next!

I paid $40.00 in 2012 and its in excellent condition. Still has all the tags and labels attached as well as original screening.

i have a kiddie koop dome top purchased in 1950 by my grandmother that i'm wanting to sell if anyone is interested contact me at mecaskey5@yahoo.com

i have a kiddie koop purchased in 1950 by my grandmother, if any is interested in buying it contact me at mecaskey5@yahoo.com

in excellent condition complete with mattress

I also have one in excellent condition. Anyone wanting to purchase, email me. I am in NC.

Hi, do you still Have the kiddie koop? If so can you give me some info, would you be able to ship it also I will pay the shipping and how much do you want for it, Thanks

Hi; I have a Kiddie-Koop,purchased in 1931.I
would be interesed in selling if the price is
right.Contact me at donnasmurphy@yahoo.com

I have a Kiddie Koop from WWII, labels still on it. Excellent condition. Please email if interested.

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