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The Futuro House was conceived by Matti Suuronen in 1968 as a "portable" ski chalet. It is an iconic piece of architecture and this website is devoted to documenting the history of the Futuro House and the current status and whereabouts of the remaining examples.

                   

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         UPDATED 120914 | ADDED 092714 | THE CHARLES CLEWORTH FUTURO HOUSE ARCHIVE | HOME | << Collector's Corner | Other Archives & Collections >>
The Charles Cleworth Futuro House Archive

Charles CleworthThe late Charles Cleworth was a long time entrepreneur and a significant investor in the Futuro House in the US. "Back in the day" Charles was the President of the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado and during the course of his involvement with the Futuro House he accumulated and stored many documents, letters, plans, drawings and other items associated with the Futuro House and the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado.

In recent email correspondence about this archive Charles Cleworth's son Monty wrote of his father that:

"He and some other investors bought all the forms used for the molding of the plastic and were doing production here in Colorado. I remember visiting the plant on S. Santa Fe Street in Denver. He had been in the plastics field as a publisher of magazines and had also tried his hand at manufacturing a plastic bumper (also with no financial success)."

Charles Cleworth's family recently decided to pass this important Futuro archive to TheFuturoHouse.com to be preserved and catalogued. I am sure Futuro aficionados everywhere will join me in thanking the Cleworth family for their generous bequest. Cataloguing and presenting these documents here not only adds significantly to the documented history of the Futuro but also recognizes Charles Cleworth as one of the farsighted individuals who gave us all Futuro in the first place.



Go To | Documents & Letters *** | Drawings & Architectural Plans *** | Marketing, Advertising & Sales Materials *** | Photographs *** | Press & Media Items ***

*** Latest Additions/Updates

Notes On The Presentation Of This Archive

  • The images displayed on this page are photos of the actual items and documents in the archive. With the exception of particularly large documents [some architectural plans for example] there will also be links to pdf files.
  • Some items will appear twice. For example architectural plans that were part of a document package will be included in the listing for that package but also included in the section containing all architectural plans.
  • All of the documents in the archive are from either the very late 60's or the 70's. The Cleworth family has given their consent to the archive being catalogued and displayed here. Some of the documents included in the archive reference individuals and companies other than Charles Cleworth and the Futuro Corporation of Colorado. Given the age of this material I believe it is unlikely that any of the material remains sensitive or personal [though any that does appear to be so even after 40 plus years will be excluded]. That said if anyone sees anything here referencing themselves or their family members that they would like removed please let me know by email.
  • Though there is organization in the archive it is also apparent that there are documents in disparate files that do reference each other. As additional content is added to this page I will try to go back and add indications of such references to sections of the page that were added previously.
  • The listings include update dates; the intention is to make it clear to those who make return visits to this page which content is new since their last visit. Clearly the archive contains a finite number of items and once all content has been added update dates will not be necessary and the page will become a static archive. However it may take some time before that stage is reached.
Press & Media Items | Updated 120914 | 11

        *** Latest Additions/Updates
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Deseret News | Photo Of Futuro In Arcadia Florida | 033170

Deseret News - 033170This item is a page from the 033170 issue of the Deseret News. It includes a photo of a Futuro House on the banks of the Peace River near Arcadia, Florida. The photo is accompanied by the following text:

"This "flying saucer" has prompted all sorts of conjecture. It "landed" recently at the Nacatee-Owens Bridge site on the Peace River near Arcadia, Fla., and is a pilot model of a fiberglass house built by a New Jersey construction company. It is 26 feet in diameter."

For me it was interesting to see this photo in an actual publication since I already had an original of the AP WirePhoto behind this article in my collection of "things Futuro".

Attached to the newspaper page is a type written note to "Chuck" from Nyle Fox which reads:

"The little round house is getting around. But look at the competition on the same page."

That competition, circled in red, was an ad for Mountain Cabins, clearly a market Futuro might try to insert itself into, retailing for $1474 [for what appeared to be basically a kit with pre-cut materials] which was considerably less than a Futuro.

Deseret News - 033170

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Press Release | How Do You Make A Foam Dome House? | Undated

In a late 1970 Stock Offering Prospectus the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado defines its purpose as to:

"... buy, sell, trade, lease, distribute, construct, manufacture, dispose of, acquire and generally deal in, at wholesale and retail, all types of houses, buildings and structures ..."

The archive contains various materials related to houses and structures other than Futuro and the WestPoint Pepperell Foam House is one of them. It is unclear whether the materials related to this particular structure are in the archive because it was seen as a "competitor", as something the company were considering getting involved with or simply as general information related to the company's core field of operations. That said this WestPoint Pepperell press release indicates that the structure was built as a show home and contains no indication it was something they intended to "produce" so it seems likely this material is just "informational".

Constructed by the textile company WestPoint Pepperell and located in the Chattahoochee River Valley the foam house was constructed as a show house to demonstrate the company's product versatility. The house was made of polyurethane foam which was sprayed onto a series of domes constructed using heavy industrial nylon fabric supported by balloons which were subsequently deflated.

Most of the furniture in the house was built in and the show house was also used to feature and showcase many of the company's products including carpeting, rugs, wall hanging, towels, sheets and blankets.

This item is an undated WestPoint Pepperell press release [pdf] titled "How Do You Make A Foam Dome House?"

The archive also contained two other press releases related to the WestPoint Pepperell Foam house which can be found here and here along with this series of ten 11" x 8½" photos, each with attached descriptive text, which provides a good look at both the exterior and the interior of the WestPoint Pepperell Foam House.

WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - How Do You Make A Foam Dome House? - Undated - 1  WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - How Do You Make A Foam Dome House? - Undated - 2

WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - How Do You Make A Foam Dome House? - Undated - 1  WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - How Do You Make A Foam Dome House? - Undated - 2  WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - How Do You Make A Foam Dome House? - Undated - 3

In addition to WestPoint Pepperell Foam House the archive also contains materials relating to the O'Dome and the SpaceShell.

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Press Release | Living In Foam Curves | Undated

In a late 1970 Stock Offering Prospectus the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado defines its purpose as to:

"... buy, sell, trade, lease, distribute, construct, manufacture, dispose of, acquire and generally deal in, at wholesale and retail, all types of houses, buildings and structures ..."

The archive contains various materials related to houses and structures other than Futuro and the WestPoint Pepperell Foam House is one of them. It is unclear whether the materials related to this particular structure are in the archive because it was seen as a "competitor", as something the company were considering getting involved with or simply as general information related to the company's core field of operations. That said this WestPoint Pepperell press release indicates that the structure was built as a show home and contains no indication it was something they intended to "produce" so it seems likely this material is just "informational".

Constructed by the textile company WestPoint Pepperell and located in the Chattahoochee River Valley the foam house was constructed as a show house to demonstrate the company's product versatility. The house was made of polyurethane foam which was sprayed onto a series of domes constructed using heavy industrial nylon fabric supported by balloons which were subsequently deflated.

Most of the furniture in the house was built in and the show house was also used to feature and showcase many of the company's products including carpeting, rugs, wall hanging, towels, sheets and blankets.

This item is an undated WestPoint Pepperell press release [pdf] titled "Living In Foam Curves."

The archive also contained two other press releases related to the WestPoint Pepperell Foam house which can be found here and here along with this series of ten 11" x 8½" photos, each with attached descriptive text, which provides a good look at both the exterior and the interior of the WestPoint Pepperell Foam House.

WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - Living In Foam Curves - Undated - 1  WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - Living In Foam Curves - Undated - 2

WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - Living In Foam Curves - Undated - 3  WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - Living In Foam Curves - Undated - 4

In addition to WestPoint Pepperell Foam House the archive also contains materials relating to the O'Dome and the SpaceShell.

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The Plain Dealer | "Spacebank" | Woodbridge Shopping Center | 062672

Newspaper Clipping - The Plain Dealer - 062272 On 060272 a Futuro "Spacebank" was airlifted into the parking lot of the Woodbridge Shopping Center in Woodbridge, New Jersey where it was to serve as a branch of the City Federal Savings & Loan.

This clipping [pdf] reporting on the event is from the 062672 issue of the Ohio daily newspaper The Plain Dealer. More details on this event can be found in the July 1972 issue of the National League Journal a copy of which was included in this 072872 package of publicity materials distributed by Leonard Fruchter of the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado.

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Denver Post | Commentary - Mod Pod Living Unit | 031071

Denver Post - 031071 - Real Estate World - Mod Pod Living Unit Alpine Minded DesignThe 031071 issue of the Denver Post included this article titled "Mod-Pod Living Unit Alpine Minded Design" [pdf].

The article is about one Gerry Zeitlin who is described as "the new Futuro distributor for Colorado". There is no mention in any documents in the archive to suggest Zeitlin was associated the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado.

We know that the relationship between the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia and Charles Cleworth's Colorado company was strained by late 1970 [see this Stock Offering Prospectus] and that subsequent to that there were at least some direct communications between Polykem and Cleworth that were suggestive of the likelihood that Polykem's relationship with the Philadelphia company was also declining.

So perhaps Zeitlin was licensed as a distributor by the Futuro Corporation of Philadelphia for the Colorado area once the relationship they had with Cleworth's company ended.

That is of course pure conjecture but there are indications in the article that might point to this being the case. The article reports that:

"The new Futuro distributor for Colorado, Zeitlin has erected his first 26-foot diameter fiberglass shell home just west of Colorado 93 on a bluff overlooking Boulder."

The Futuro Corporation Of Colorado was given sales and marketing rights to Futuro for Colorado and Utah by the Futuro Corporation of Philadelphia but, as stated above, relations between the two companies were strained, if not already ended completely, by late 1970 [see this Stock Offering Prospectus].

We also know that despite a 1970 bankruptcy filing [these letters refer] the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia was still going strong at least as late as mid 1972 [this publicity package refers] so it is entirely possible that the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia licensed a "new Futuro Distributor" for Colorado in early 1971 following the end of their relationship with the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado.

There are also documents that suggest that the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado only ever manufactured a single "traditional" Futuro House [this letter refers] and advertisements in Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal place that Futuro in Englewood, CO on 042971 only a month after the Denver Post article places Zeitlin's Futuro outside Boulder, CO some 40 miles away.

In addition this real estate contract, also from April 1971, sees Cleworth contracting a realtor to try to sell his Futuro. There is no mention of Zeitlin in that contract and while a Futuro can certainly be moved there is no evidence of the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado ever having a Futuro in Boulder. Furthermore if they did and then wished to sell it I have to think that given the complexity and cost of relocating a Futuro it would simply have been listed for sale in Boulder rather than moved to Englewood and then listed.

On balance I have to conclude that most likely Zeitlin was licensed by the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia and in direct competition with the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado following the end of the relationship between the Philadelphia and Colorado companies.

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American Home | A Lunar Capsule For Earthbound Fun | September 1969

These pages [pdf] are clearly from a magazine but they do not include any identifying text or markings. That said when I saw them I knew I had seen them before. It took my memory a few moments to "kick into gear" but then I realized that they were from the September 1969 Issue of American Home magazine, a magazine I already had in my personal collection.

American Home Magazine - September 1969 Article - 1

American Home Magazine - September 1969 Article - 2

The article actually continued in text only on pages 118 and 119 of the magazine. Those pages were are not in the archive. More information on this article can be found here.

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Press Release | Flying Saucers You Can Live In | Undated

This Futuro Corporation press release [pdf] is undated but was almost certainly released in the first quarter of 1969 as it reports that the Futuro House would be manufactured in the US "starting in May" and we know that the first US Futuros were seen in 1969.

The press release lists a large number of possible uses for the Futuro House including vacation homes, motel units, temporary classrooms and housing, portable housing for military and forestry personnel, camp bunkers, guest cabanas, foreign government and migrant housing, commercial sales offices and studios for artists.

Interestingly it also talks about the Futuro being assembled from 16 sections which was the design of the Finnish Futuros. The US Futuros were actually manufactured from eight sections which were assembled and factory sealed into two hemispheres prior to delivery [this Futuro Corporation four page fact sheet which was included in a New Dimensions of Delaware Marketing Package also included in this archive refers along with my own visual confirmation of this during visits to the Austin & Royse City Futuros]

This item is one two Futuro Corporation press relaeses in the archive. The second, titled "Futuro: The Space Age Vacation Home--With An Imagination" can be found here.

Press Release - Flying Saucers You Can Live In - Undated - 1  Press Release - Flying Saucers You Can Live In - Undated - 2

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Press Release | Futuro: The Space Age Vacation Home ... | Undated

This Futuro Corporation press release titled "Futuro: The Space Age Vacation Home--With An Imagination" [pdf] is undated but almost certainly dates from 1969 as it talks about deliveries being scheduled to begin by December and we know the first US Futuros began appearing long before December 1970.

Additionally the press release references the Futuro being constructed from 16 sections and we know that in fact the US Futuros were manufactured in eight section which, according to this four page fact sheet, were then joined mechanically and sealed to make two hemispheres which was how the unit was then delivered to the customer. My own visual observations made during visits to the Austin and Royse City Futuros confirm this. In addition to the reference to the shell being composed of 16 pieces the document adds that the interior fixtures and fittings comprised 704 pieces.

The press release also states that:

"Twenty double acrylic windows (optionally operable) ring the house. One section of four large viewing windows can be put in the upper or lower half of the viewing deck, depending on the view!"

In fact, to my knowledge, the US Futuros generally have only two viewing windows [with only the Frisco Futuro to my knowledge having them located in the upper half]; likely this press release was issued at a time when the intention was still to manufacture Futuros to the same spec as they were manufactured in Finland rather than to the changed spec eventually used for the US Futuros.

The document also suggests that by:

"... moving the stairs to the upper hemisphere and building a deck, the saucer could even be used as a floating home."

My own observations made on visits to several Futuros in both the US and Finland are that without some heavy duty modification a Futuro would float only for a very short time.

This item is one two Futuro Corporation press releases in the archive. The second, titled "Flying Saucers You Can Live In", can be found here.

Press Release - Futuro: The Space Age Vacation Home - Undated - 1  Press Release - Futuro: The Space Age Vacation Home - Undated - 2  Press Release - Futuro: The Space Age Vacation Home - Undated - 3

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Press Release | WestPoint Pepperell Foam House | Undated

In a late 1970 Stock Offering Prospectus the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado defines its purpose as to:

"... buy, sell, trade, lease, distribute, construct, manufacture, dispose of, acquire and generally deal in, at wholesale and retail, all types of houses, buildings and structures ..."

The archive contains various materials related to houses and structures other than Futuro and the WestPoint Pepperell Foam House is one of them. It is unclear whether the materials related to this particular structure are in the archive because it was seen as a "competitor", as something the company were considering getting involved with or simply as general information related to the company's core field of operations. That said this undated and untitled WestPoint Pepperell press release [pdf] indicates that the structure was built as a show home and contains no indication it was something they intended to "produce" so it seems likely this material is just "informational".

Constructed by the textile company WestPoint Pepperell and located in the Chattahoochee River Valley the foam house was constructed as a show house to demonstrate the company's product versatility. The house was made of polyurethane foam which was sprayed onto a series of domes constructed using heavy industrial nylon fabric supported by balloons which were subsequently deflated.

Most of the furniture in the house was built in and the show house was also used to feature and showcase many of the company's products including carpeting, rugs, wall hanging, towels, sheets and blankets.

The archive also contained two other press releases related to the WestPoint Pepperell Foam house which can be found here and here along with this series of ten 11" x 8½" photos, each with attached descriptive text, which provides a good look at both the exterior and the interior of the WestPoint Pepperell Foam House.

WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - WestPoint Pepperell Foam House - Undated - 1  WestPoint Pepperell Press Release - WestPoint Pepperell Foam House - Undated - 2

In addition to WestPoint Pepperell Foam House the archive also contains materials relating to the O'Dome and the SpaceShell.

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Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal | Futuro Ad | Multiple Dates

Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal - 042971 - FrontAn advertisement for a Futuro House appeared in issues of Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal on 042971, 101972 and 103072.

The advertisement indicates that the Futuro for sale was located in Englewood, CO and, while the identity of the individual or company selling the unit is not listed the phone number listed in the first of the advertisements [388-4511 - no area code] can be linked with Charles Cleworth and therefore with the Futuro Corporation of Colorado since it belonged to Plastics World Magazine of which Charles Cleworth was president [this letter refers].

Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal - 101972 - FrontThere is no indication of price in the advertisement but there is reason to think it would have been $25,000. The same month as the first advertisement appeared [April 1971] Cleworth signed this contract with a realtor for the sale of a Futuro; the price $25,000. The contract listed a Futuro in Littleton, CO but Littleton and Englewood are "neighbors" and the address listed on the contract is about half way between the two and, given that along with the indications that the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado made only a single "standard" Futuro, it is likely they were one and the same.

Additionally in this 062471 letter regarding the possible sale of a Futuro the price is again $25,000. It is also in this letter that Cleworth indicates that his company made only one "standard" Futuro before moving on to another design and so it is highly likely that letter referred to this same Futuro.

If we accept that only one "standard" Futuro was manufactured by Cleworth's company, and his own correspondence suggests that, then it seems that despite a realtors efforts, advertisements and Cleworth's own efforts the Futuro did not sell for several years as this correspondence suggests Cleworth was still trying to sell the Futuro in June 1973 and these letters suggest it eventually sold in 1974.

The archive contains the complete 042971 and 101972 issues of Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal as well as single pages [that include the Futuro advertisement] from all three issues. There is also a copy of the advertisement on regular white stock rather than newsprint; perhaps the original draft of the advertisement though there is really nothing to identify it as such.

The images below are [top to bottom, left to right]:
  • A copy of the ad printed on regular white stock
  • A "high res" photo of the ad from the publication
  • The 042971 page carrying the advertisement
  • The 101972 page carrying the advertisement
  • The 103072 page carrying the advertisement

Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal - Futuro Ad - Displayed In Englewood, CO - Draft Version

Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal - Futuro Ad - Displayed In Englewood, CO - Detail

Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal - Futuro Ad - Displayed In Englewood, CO - 042971  Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal - Futuro Ad - Displayed In Englewood, CO - 100972  Cervi's Rocky Mountain Journal - Futuro Ad - Displayed In Englewood, CO - 103072

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Denver Post | Colorado Garden And Home Show | 020870

Denver Post - Sunday - Roundup Section - 020870 - Page Cover In this late 1970 Stock Offering Prospectus we learn that the Futuro Corporation Of Colorado was invited to display a Futuro at the Colorado Garden And Home Show at the Currigan Convention Center in Denver, Colorado in February 1970.

The Colorado company had already been let down once by the Futuro Corporation Of Philadelphia when they failed to deliver a Futuro House to the Colorado company for display at the department store May-Daniels & Fisher in Denver but Leonard Fruchter was again contacted and a Futuro House was promised for the Garden & Home show.

However the Philadelphia Company again failed to deliver and a small model of a Futuro had to be displayed at the show instead. According to the Stock Offering Prospectus Cleworth believed several potential sales were lost as a result and this was the start of the decline of the relationship between the two companies.

In the Roundup section of The Sunday Denver Post of 020870 the Garden And Home show featured on the cover [highlighting Dancing Waters and the Futuro Home]. In addition there was a write up on the show in the Gardening Section [Page 48] and a full page advertisement for the show [page 53].

In the article on page 48 we read that:

"The Futuro Vacation Home delivery has been delayed. A small display by the Futuro Co. will be manned by representatives during all show hours ..."

There is a photo of the Dancing Waters feature but no Futuro photographs. As one of the main features of the show it is almost certain the Futuro would have featured much more prominently in the article had it actually been delivered and, on the premise that "marketing equals sales", this lends credence to Cleworth's contention that the absence of the promised Futuro cost his company sales.

The full page advertisement included a photo of a Futuro House [Futuro #001 at the time located in Hirvensalmi, Finland and now in the collection of the WeeGee Exhibition Center, Espoo, Finland] and a statement similar to that found in the article indicating the delivery of the Futuro had been delayed.

Denver Post - Sunday - Roundup Section - 020870 - Page 48  Denver Post - Sunday - Roundup Section - 020870 - Page 53

There are several other items in the archive relating to the Garden & Home show including this flyer for the show, a window poster advertising the show and a pair of photographs taken at the show.

In addition my personal collection of Futuro items and memorabilia contains an original press photograph [which actually featured Futuro #000 at the time in Turenki, Finland] relating to the Garden & Home show.

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