A Brief History of Lincoln Logs


A century ago, John Lloyd Wright, the second son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, came up with the

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concept for what would become the classic toy Lincoln Logs. The toy sets for building small forts and buildings using interlocking miniature log beams were inspired by his father’s earthquake-proof design for the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo.

John Lloyd Wright began marketing his toy invention under his newly formed the Red Square Toy Company (named after his father’s famous symbol). He applied for a patent on the “toy-cabin construction” in 1920, and trademarked the name three years later. The original sales slogan was “Interesting playthings typifying the spirit of America.” Made out of redwood, each set came with instructions on how to build President Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home as well as Uncle Tom’s cabin.

The toy’s patent was later sold to Playskool for a mere $800. Lincoln Logs were one of the first toys to be advertised on television when it was promoted on the television show Pioneer Playhouse in 1953.

In 1999, Lincoln Logs and John Lloyd Wright were entered into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Since 2014, Lincoln Logs are once again produced in the US.

Pickleball Fever

Pickleball is as fun as the name would imply. It is a racquet game played on a court that is a mix of tennis, badminton, and table tennis; it is easy to learn and appeals to all ages and skill levels. In the past half century, pickleball has evolved from a game with handmade equipment into a popular competitive sport.
The origins of pickleball began in Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965. Three dads—former US Congressman and Lieutenant Governor Joel Pritchard, William Bell, and Barney McCallum—improvised a game for their families using badminton net, a Whiffle ball, and handmade paddles fashioned from plywood found in a shed. As they played, the rules evolved and more friends and neighbors became acquainted with it. People began making their own paddles with a wood jigsaw and marine plywood. Those who had access to badminton courts simply lowered the net while others set up courts in their driveways and backyards by drawing lines with chalk.

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In 1975, The National Observer published an article about it, and the following year Tennis magazine wrote about it as “America’s newest racquet sport.” In 1984, the USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) was organized and the first rulebook was published. That same year, the first composite paddle was produced. In 2001, the game was introduced in the Arizona Senior Olympics and drew 100 players, the largest event ever played to that point. Pickleball was included for the first time in the National Senior Games Champion Festival in Providence, Rhode Island in 2008. Today, there are an estimated 2.5-million pickleball players in the US, which is estimated to grow to be 8 million players by 2018. According to the USAPA, virtually every state and Canadian province has pickleball venues, with 12,668 pickleball courts currently in North America.

Laughter for the Love of Your Heart (275)

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Researchers are just beginning to understand all that laughter can do to promote heart health. Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The study found that people who had either suffered a heart attack or undergone coronary artery bypass surgery were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease. People with heart disease generally laughed less, even in positive situations, and they displayed more anger and hostility.

Research seems to show that laughter can decrease stress hormones, reduce artery inflammation, and increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol) according to the American Heart Association (AHA). And the positive effects of laughter can last 24 hours.

It it may be possible to incorporate laughter into our daily activities by reading something humorous, watching a comedy, and remaining social. People laugh primarily during social interactions with others and the amount of laughter depends on how much time an individual spends interacting with others.