Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at Young V&A
Play Gallery, Build It, Case 1

This object consists of 13 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Zometool

Construction Toy
2020 (manufactured), 1960s (designed)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The Zometool is a plastic construction set which is built out of a myriad of geometric structures and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is used as an educational tool to facilitate creative and mathematical development.

Zometool, the company, was founded by Steve Baer. The Zometool originated with Steve Baer’s interest in dome geometry. Dome geometry (known as geodesic domes) was introduced to Baer by the architect Buckminster Fuller. Fuller had been involved in the 1960s artist commune known as Drop City, near Trinidad, Colarado. The artist-residents of Drop City built geodesic domes to lives in. Geodesic domes are based on geodesic polyhedrons (meaning shapes made up of triangles, which are three-dimensional shapes with flat polygonal faces). Using lots of smaller three-dimensional triangle shapes to form the dome is what makes geodesic domes so strong, as the structural stress is distributed throughout the structure. When six triangles are built around a point, it makes a flat hexagon.

Baer wanted to design buildings that improved upon Fuller’s geodesic domes of the Drop City, and began to experiment with building Zomes. The word Zome was coined by Steve Durkee and by Steve Baer. Zomes could be designed with Zome geometry, and also enable homes with more creative shapes. Baer founded Zomeworks in 1969 and began to raise funds to make playground structures and the Zometoy modelling sets. The Zometoy used plastic ball joints and wooden dowel struts, and was demonstrated at the New York Toy Fair in 1971. It laid the foundation work for the construction set that would become the Zometool system.


Object details

Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 13 parts.

  • Construction Set, White Spheres
  • Sheet
  • Booklet
  • Construction Set, Blue Rods
  • Construction Toy, Blue Rods
  • Construction Toy, Blue Rods
  • Construction Toy, Yellow Rods
  • Construction Toy, Yellow Rods
  • Construction Toy, Yellow Rods
  • Construction Toy, Red Rods
  • Construction Toy, Red Rods
  • Construction Toy, Red Rods
  • Display Arrangement
TitleZometool
Materials and techniques
Plastic
Brief description
Zome Tool Construction Kit, designed by Steve Baer and manufactured by Zometool, Inc.
Physical description
Construction set of 246 plastic pieces, consisting of colourful struts in red, blue, and yellow, with white connecting nodes.
Dimensions
  • Height: 860mm (Note: Dimensions based on construction arrangement on display)
  • Width: 550mm
  • Depth: 310mm
Dimensions are the display arrangement dimesions.
Summary
The Zometool is a plastic construction set which is built out of a myriad of geometric structures and can be used for a variety of purposes. It is used as an educational tool to facilitate creative and mathematical development.

Zometool, the company, was founded by Steve Baer. The Zometool originated with Steve Baer’s interest in dome geometry. Dome geometry (known as geodesic domes) was introduced to Baer by the architect Buckminster Fuller. Fuller had been involved in the 1960s artist commune known as Drop City, near Trinidad, Colarado. The artist-residents of Drop City built geodesic domes to lives in. Geodesic domes are based on geodesic polyhedrons (meaning shapes made up of triangles, which are three-dimensional shapes with flat polygonal faces). Using lots of smaller three-dimensional triangle shapes to form the dome is what makes geodesic domes so strong, as the structural stress is distributed throughout the structure. When six triangles are built around a point, it makes a flat hexagon.

Baer wanted to design buildings that improved upon Fuller’s geodesic domes of the Drop City, and began to experiment with building Zomes. The word Zome was coined by Steve Durkee and by Steve Baer. Zomes could be designed with Zome geometry, and also enable homes with more creative shapes. Baer founded Zomeworks in 1969 and began to raise funds to make playground structures and the Zometoy modelling sets. The Zometoy used plastic ball joints and wooden dowel struts, and was demonstrated at the New York Toy Fair in 1971. It laid the foundation work for the construction set that would become the Zometool system.
Collection
Accession number
B.36-2022

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Record createdFebruary 5, 2021
Record URL
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