Lincoln Logs' Famous Inventor - and How Much He Sold Out For

Stacy Conradt

You can probably deduce who John Lloyd Wright’s famous dad was. But what you may not know is that John made his own massive contribution to design in an arena totally different than his father’s: toys.

Perhaps inspired by Frank's Imperial Hotel, John received US Patent 1,351,086 on August 31, 1920, for a "Toy-Cabin Construction." I bet you know where this is going:

Wright named his invention Lincoln Logs. While many people (including me) thought this was an allusion to Honest Abe, evidence suggests the name came from another Lincoln—his dad. Frank Lloyd Wright was born Frank Lincoln Wright, but he changed his name when his parents split. Regardless of which Lincoln the logs were honoring, they were a huge hit almost immediately—more so than Wright Blocks, John’s second attempt at building blocks after he sold the Lincoln Logs rights to Playskool for $800.

Wright Blocks were similar to Lincoln Logs - they were shapes that interlocked so kids could create amazing (albeit small) architecture of their very own. Even though the basic concept was exactly the same, something about the modern shape and style of the blocks just didn’t catch on like the good-old-fashionedness of Lincoln Logs.