What are Lincoln Logs®?

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Lincoln Logs® were designed by architect and toy designer John Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright. The logs were inspired by an earthquake-resistant element in Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel. The original sets were made of wood and offered skill coordination practice for kids. Lincoln Logs® were listed among the 100 most loved and creative toys of the 20th century.

While there are many toys that encourage children to explore and grow with bricks, such as Lego® and K’NEX® — Lincoln Logs® have the distinction of having been designed by architect and toy designer, John Lloyd Wright son of Frank Lloyd Wright. After his father’s apprenticeship ended abruptly, John Wright turned to toy design, first focusing on building blocks and jigsaw-cut birds. After that came Lincoln Logs®.

Wright said the shape of the logs reflected an earthquake-resistant element his father had introduced into the structure of Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel, which was designed and built from 1907 to 1915. Lincoln Logs®, designed in 1916, were patented by the company of Wright, JL Wright Company, on August 31, 1920, and the name was registered in 1923.

The original sets were made entirely of wood, and the doors and windows were formed by the absence of logs, rather than by attaching parts to represent those elements. Because they’re made to interlock, Lincoln Logs® offer an additional skill coordination practice for kids beyond that of bricks. With the addition of special pieces, including doors and windows, and accessories, such as people and wheels, the possibilities for imaginative play have been further expanded.

In 2003, in celebration of the Toy Industry Association’s centennial, a list of the 100 most loved and most creative toys of the 20th century was published. The toys are not ranked, but are listed in order of the year they were introduced. And there, between the Raggedy Ann doll introduced in 1915 and the Radio Flyer Wagon® introduced in 1917, are the Lincoln Logs®.

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