A sawmill made from Lincoln Logs
|Inventor(s)||John Lloyd Wright|
|Company||Basic Fun, Inc.|
Lincoln Logs are a U.S. children's toy consisting of square-notched miniature logs used to build small forts and buildings. They were invented around 1916 by John Lloyd Wright, second son of the well-known architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Lincoln Logs were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Starting in 2014, Lincoln Logs were manufactured by K'NEX Industries Inc. In late 2017, K'NEX, having filed for bankruptcy, was bought out by Basic Fun, Inc., of Florida. Pride Manufacturing, of Burnham, Maine, manufactures Lincoln Logs for Basic Fun.
The logs measure three quarters of an inch (roughly two centimetres) in diameter. Analogous to real logs used in a log cabin, Lincoln Logs are notched so that logs may be laid at right angles to each other to form rectangles resembling buildings. Additional parts of the toy set include roofs, chimneys, windows and doors, which bring a realistic appearance to the final creation. Later sets included animals and human figures the same scale as the buildings.
Lincoln Logs were invented sometime around 1916–1917 when John Lloyd Wright was working in Japan with his father. The mold for the toy was based on the architecture of the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, designed by the inventor's father. The foundation of the hotel was designed with interlocking log beams, which made the structure "earthquake-proof" and one of the few buildings to remain standing after the 1923 Great Kanto Earthquake that crumbled Tokyo.
When he returned to the U.S., John organized The Red Square Toy Company (named after his father's famous symbol), and marketed the toy in 1918. Wright was issued U.S. patent 1,351,086 on August 31, 1920, for a "Toy-Cabin Construction". Soon after, he changed the name to J. L. Wright Manufacturing. The original Lincoln Log set came with instructions on how to build Uncle Tom's Cabin as well as Abraham Lincoln's cabin. Subsequent sets were larger and more elaborate. The toy was a hit, following as it did Meccano, Tinker Toys and Erector Set introduced a few years before. Lincoln Logs are believed to be the first toy to be marketed to both boys and girls and appeal to a "simple" type of creativity.
K'Nex, the toy's current distributor, states the product was named after Abraham Lincoln—famously born in a log cabin—due to patriotism during World War I. Others attribute the name to Frank Lloyd Wright's original name, Frank Lincoln Wright, or the alliteration of the name Linkin' Logs.
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