But could inventing be
First, we interrupt this story for a
quick quiz: Based on the headline to this story, which of the
following people do you think will be the main figure of this story?
The other Wright
brother that you've never heard of
None of the above
Now back to our program.
Like most boys growing up, I owned a set of Tinkertoys and an
Erector Set. Actually, the Tinkertoys were a hand-me-down item in
the Niemann household. When you're the seventh-oldest kid in the
family, you get used to playing with hand-me-down toys. Another
popular toy was the Lincoln Log set.
Lincoln Logs are miniature logs that have notches in them. The
notches enable you to make miniature models of log buildings. A
Lincoln Logs set also has windows and doors.
You've probably never heard of the inventor of Lincoln Logs, but
you've heard of his father. That means the answer to the above
question must be "None of the above."
The inventor of Lincoln Logs was John Wright. Like his father,
John worked in construction. John's inspiration for Lincoln Logs
came during a 1917 trip to Tokyo when he and his father were hired
to work on the famous Imperial Hotel. When he saw how the beams in
the hotel ceiling were interlocked with each other, he came up with
the idea for Lincoln Logs.
[to top of second column]
By the way, what did Abraham Lincoln have to do with Lincoln
They were named after Lincoln, who lived in a log house in
Kentucky. Abraham Lincoln, by the way, was also an inventor and he
remains the only U.S. president to have received a patent.
What do the Wright brothers have to do with Lincoln Logs?
John Wright was born in 1892 as the second son of Frank and
Catherine Wright of Oak Park. He went to work for his father, and
his father eventually fired him. It didn't matter, though, because
John was just as interested in designing wooden toys as he was in
designing buildings. He designed Lincoln Logs for the Marshall Field
Co. in Chicago in 1918.
I didn't tell you John Wright's full name earlier, only that he
worked in construction like his father did. He had another thing in
common with his father -- his middle name, which was Lloyd.
As in John Lloyd Wright, the inventor of Lincoln Logs and the son
of the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Paul Niemann's column is syndicated
to more than 70 newspapers. He is the author of the "Invention
Mysteries" series of books. He can be reached at
Copyright Paul Niemann 2008