• In 1876, Anna Wright visited Philadelphia and, fortunately for world architecture, bought her son, Frank Lloyd, a set of wooden blocks. Designed in the 1830's by Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel, the German pioneer who created Kindergarten, the blocks were part of a system of "gifts" intended to inspire young imaginations. They inspired Wright, who would remember them all his life. "Mother found the gifts, and what gifts they were," he once wrote. "I soon became susceptible to constructive pattern evolving in everything I saw. I learned to 'see' this way, and when I did, I did not care to draw casual incidentals of Nature. I wanted to design." Froebel blocks are deceptively simple. Playing with them shows how, for example, two rectangles form (or come from) a square, which in turn divides into two triangles. Concepts like proportion and spatial relationships are thus absorbed through play--and the memory is long term. Wright never failed to credit Froebel for his earliest architectural yearnings for he later stated, "The maple-wood blocks...all are in my fingers to this day."