History of Lincoln Logs

Lincoln Logs are notched building blocks used to create barns, cabins and other buildings. From 1924 to today, Lincoln Logs have entertained and educated our children. Years have done little to diminish their popularity. A popular toy, Lincoln Logs were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1999. 

Growing up in the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lloyd Wright and his five siblings played with the popular building blocks of the day. During a visit to his father’s work in the early 1900s, it is believed that John may have been influenced by the interlocking beams at his father’s work site in Tokyo. In 1920, the younger Wright was given a patent for Toy-Cabin Construction set.

Lincoln Logs were brought to the market place around the time of World War I. Popular campaigns encouraged shoppers to buy American. They were advertised as “Interesting playthings that typify the spirit America.” Not only were the logs made in America, they were named for President Lincoln to create the aura of the frontier. Lincoln Logs were an instant success. Not only were they fun, they were educational. Little boys and girls could recreate the old West. The original sets came with directions to build Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Lincoln’s Cabin.

Their popularity stayed strong during the 1940s. During World War II, Lincoln Logs never slowed down. During WWII, while metal toys stopped production during the war, Lincoln Logs avoided the production bans because the toys were of wood. After the war, metal people and animals were added to the sets. 

The tiny 3/4-inch building blocks were originally made from cedar. The logs were a reddish shade while the roofing material had varying colors. During the 1970s, the log’s material was changed to plastic. It wasn’t long before the toys returned to wood.

During 1953, Lincoln Logs had a first. They were the first toys to be advertised on television. In an attempt to reach well-to-do parents, the ones who could afford to own a television, the toys were promoted on the children’s program, “Pioneer Playhouse.” The toys complemented the show and appealed to the kids who watched it. 

When Wright first produced them in the 1920s, his company was named the Red Square Toy Co. He changed the name to John Lloyd Wright Toy Co. Lincoln Logs are still produced today. They are licensed by Hasbro Co. and distributed by K’NEX.