www.whyville.net Oct 14, 2012 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Toy History: Lincoln Logs

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Hello everyone! After a one week break from the series, I'm back with another edition of "Toy History"! This week, our featured toy comes from a reader's suggestion: Lincoln Logs. A unique twist on classic building blocks, Lincoln Logs are cylindrical logs of wood with square notches. The notches are made so that the pieces fit together at right angles, perfect for building rooms and forts. So now, let's take a closer look at Lincoln Logs' creation.

In 1916, John Lloyd Wright, son of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, was observing the way the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was being built. Interlocking beams were used to make the building earthquake proof. This technique being used in the building of the hotel gave him the idea to make a children's toy that used much the same style. He named his invention Lincoln Logs after the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who grew up in a log cabin in Kentucky.

The Red Square Toy Company first marketed the logs in 1918, and they were an instant success. Even throughout World War II, when some toy companies making metal toys had to delay production because of government restrictions on metal, Lincoln Logs were still going strongly as they are made of wood. After the war, the company even started to create figurines of animals and people to go with the sets, scaled down to the size of the toy buildings.

Because they had been around so long, Lincoln Logs were also one of the very first toys to be advertised on television. Ads for Lincoln Logs began being shown on TV in 1953. The ads were targeted towards upper-class families who could afford to have a TV in their home and buy toys for their kids, and they used the idea of the toy promoting creativity and hand-eye coordination to sell the product. Today, Lincoln Logs are still in production and considered a classic American toy of the 20th century.

Here is a picture of the toys in action: This was named the tallest structure made of Lincoln Logs by Guinness World Records, as of April 2011. It was 10 feet, 11 inches (3.32 meters) tall, and consisted of 2,995 Lincoln Logs.

Well, that's all for this week for Toy History. See you next time!


Author's Note: Sources: http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/lincolnlogs.htm


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