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Crayola Crayon History

Updated on December 8, 2016

You probably used them as a child, and still have a few around the house for your own children or grandchildren to use. I know I do!

They seem to be a quick fix for boredom when kids are around, and now come in many brilliant shades. There are even specialty sets that keep the interest of many children today. Yes, I am talking about Crayola Crayons .


Edwin Binney and Harold Smith formed a partnership in 1885 called Binney & Smith . These cousins produced printing ink and shoe polish. They purchased a stone mill in 1900 located in Easton, Pennsylvania, where they began to make slate pencils for schools. They invented a wax crayon, which was used to mark crates and barrels and it included carbon and was poisonous when ingested. They researched the possibility of making colorful and non-toxic drawing tools for children.

Finally, in 1903, they introduced a new brand of crayons, which were non-toxic and had superior qualities. They called them Crayola Crayons . The word Crayola was the creation of Edwin Binney's wife, Alice. It is the combination of the French word for chalk (craie) and oily (oleaginous). Actually they are more waxy than oily, but have become the favorite coloring tool for millions of children throughout the world.


1903 - Introduction with eight colors in a box including black, blue, brown, green, orange, red, violet and yellow. Available at the cost of 5 cents.

1949 - Forty colors were added

1958 - Sixteen colors were added

1962 - As part of the civil rights movement, Crayola decided to change the name of the flesh crayon to peach . It was an attempt to show that skin comes in a variety of shades. Also, Prussian Blue was changed to Midnight blue .

1972 - Eight fluorescent colors were added including atomic tangerine, blizzard blue, hot magenta, laser lemon, outrageous orange, screamin' green, shocking pink and wild watermelon.

1990 - Sixteen more colors added, and eight colors retired (blue gray, green blue, lemon yellow, maize, orange red, orange yellow, raw umber and violet blue). Retired colors were enshrined in the Crayola Hall of Fame .

1993 - Sixteen more colors added. By this time there were 96 colors in the biggest box of Crayola Crayons. As part of the company's 90th anniversary celebration, crayon lovers were able to participate in the Name the New Color Contest to choose names for the 16 new crayons.

1998 - Twenty four new colors added making a total of 120 colors in the biggest box of crayons.

1999 - Educator's requested that Indian Red be renamed Chestnut . Some thought it was in response to the skin color of Native Americans, but it referred instead to a reddish pigment from India. The new name for the color resulted in a contest which had more than 250,000 entries.

2000 - Torch red was changed to Scarlet and Thistle was replaced by Indigo .

Specialty sets became available including: pearl brite crayons, techno-brite and glitter crayons.

2003 - Four new colors added and four retired. Newest colors include inch worm, jazzberry jam , mango tango , and wild blue yonder .

Today there are over a hundred types of Crayola Crayons - some smell like flowers, change colors, and can even be washed off of walls and other surfaces. You've come a long way baby!

Interesting facts about Crayola Crayons:

Crayola Crayons are available in boxes printed in 11 languages including Swedish, Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Italian, German, French, Finnish, English, Dutch and Danish.

Two billion Crayola Crayons are produced yearly.

Until 2000, with the introduction of the Indigo colored crayon, you could not create a true rainbow.

The least used crayon is white, but it is very useful for coloring on some colored papers.

Out of the top ten favorite colors of crayons, the best liked are eight different shades of blue.

If you mix all of your crayons together, you will get black.

One of the most recognizable scents in America is Crayola crayons.

On average, children in the US wear down 730 crayons before their tenth birthday.

Manatee is an awesome name for a crayola color which is often used for coloring dolphins.

There are Crayola Crayon collectors out there. Perhaps you have some in your attic - here is what they are worth:

BS0298 With a special promotional box made for Flying Star Factory. Estimated mint value $150 for eight crayons produced in the late 1940s.

BS0047 Produced to commemorate Winfield Kansas plant. Estimated mint value $100 for eight crayons produced in 1952

BS0048 Acknowledged closing of Winfield Kansas plant in 1992. Estimated mint value $30 for eight crayons.

For more information about collectable crayons go to

Check out this video - amazing collection of Crayola Crayons

I remember taking a magnifying glass and melting them into one another to make some great designs. And, of course, many hours of coloring in coloring books, and now that I am an artist, I am sure they played into my love of painting.

So, what is your favority memory about Crayola Crayons?


Submit a Comment

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you enjoyed it Kris. Crayons are so fun and come in such a variety of colors and types nowadays. Thanks for commenting.

  • Kris Heeter profile image

    Kris Heeter 5 years ago from Indiana

    Awesome hub! I love all the interesting facts.

    I saw a child using the retractable crayons a few years ago and "oohed and ahhhed" over them, so at Christmas he gave a set to me and each of my nieces so we could color together:)

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    So right SUSANJK. I found a child that I tutor the other day and she said she has never had a box of crayons. I had to give her one. Every child should enjoy crayons in their youth!

  • SUSANJK profile image

    SUSANJK 6 years ago from Florida

    Crayolas are the toy that have been around forever, everyone loves them.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Glad you enjoyed my crayola crayon hub tillsontitan. It is the simple things in life that we remember the most. I appreciate your comments.

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

    Great hub! Such a common thing but one that everyone has used and most likely loved. I agree with HealthyHanna, there is no substitute for Crayola, they're the best. Voted this hub up!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Aloha Hello, hello, Glad to have to stop by and read about Crayola Crayons. It is interesting and fun. Thanks.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

    an interesting bit of history we don't think about it.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you for your kind comments. That is cool that you get to teach in South Korea. My son lived there for a year.

  • World-Traveler profile image

    World-Traveler 6 years ago from USA

    Voted UP and useful. I have used both crayons and colored pencils to teach the English language in South Korea and Thailand. Both these types of media help communicate the meaning of color in the English language for these students.

    I enjoyed the way you set up the layout for your story on crayons! Thanks!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    There is truly no substitute for the best - Crayola. Thanks HealthyHanna!

  • HealthyHanna profile image

    HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

    I Love Crayola crayons. The dollar store brands are just not the same.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    That's great manthy - hope you enjoy reading!

  • manthy profile image

    Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

    YW - I'm gonna read some more of em tonight.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks Aris. I like colorful history, so glad that you like the way it was presented. Have a happy day!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks i scribble for pointing that out. Glad that you enjoyed it.

  • Aris Budianto profile image

    Aris Budianto 6 years ago from Lying along the equator Country

    Well done, I like you telling us the history, more colors more smile. awesome hub.

  • i scribble profile image

    i scribble 6 years ago

    When I saw your title, I was immediately interested in when and how crayons were invented. I'm intrigued to know that they came on the scene roughly 100 years ago, the same time as so many important inventions that literally changed the world, like automobiles and airplanes. In fact, the Wright brothers made their historic first flight the same year, 1903.

    Love the pics too. I'm gonna try to build that thing myself!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Why thank you manthy. I truly appreciate your vote and comments.

  • manthy profile image

    Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

    Loved your hub - I gave it a awesome and a thumbs up!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    That's for sure Helpful Hanna. Crayons never go out of style.

  • profile image

    Helpful Hanna 6 years ago

    Crayola crayons are still the best school supply ever!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I thought so too sfrentz06. It was fun learning about something I have used all my life. Thanks for commenting.

  • sfrentz06 profile image

    sfrentz06 6 years ago from Sterling Heights, MI, USA

    Very interesting, this was a great idea for a hub!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Yes, Crayola came up with some great names for the colors mtsi1098. Thanks for the comments.

    Me too, breakfastpop. As soon as they are used, they no longer look as lovely - especially if someone does the unthinkable and breaks your crayon - oh no!

    Me too, LianaK. I remember learning to color in the lines, then getting creative with the colors - mixing colors, etc. Glad you liked it.

    So sorry you have no grandchildren to come over and use your crayons dahoglund. I will be in the same situation really soon. Not sure I will be able to survive.

    So, I guess then dahoglund and I will have to get out our crayons and use them ourselves, right, Debby? Good idea.

    Thanks daisyjae - so glad you enjoyed reading about crayons.

  • daisyjae profile image

    daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

    Interesting history! I love crayons, especially the smell of them.

  • Debby Bruck profile image

    Debby Bruck 6 years ago

    Whenever you are feeling sad and lonely, take out the crayons and color. Let the kiddies explore and feel free to draw.

  • dahoglund profile image

    Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

    Yes, I think we do have some for the grandchildren. However, they no longer live near so they no longer come over.

  • LianaK profile image

    LianaK 6 years ago

    Like mtsi1098 I loved reading the names of the colors. There were some great names. Crayons definitely bring back wonderful memories of my childhood and releasing creative energy! Great hub!

  • breakfastpop profile image

    breakfastpop 6 years ago

    I still love looking at a fresh box of Crayola Crayons!

  • profile image

    mtsi1098 6 years ago

    I remember looking through the box and trying to pick out a match in color and in name but Crayola always had a way of naming colors...I love the rainbow stat and found this to be a great read...thanks

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I like the idea of healing the world with crayons. Thanks for your comments Debby.

    So glad you enjoyed it. The smell of crayons always reminds me of my youth. Aloha jpcmc!

  • jpcmc profile image

    JP Carlos 6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

    What a great hub! It brought back fond memories of drawing on our walls when I was a kid.

  • Debby Bruck profile image

    Debby Bruck 6 years ago

    oh man! THIS IS SO AWESOME. Great hub on Crayolas. Who doesn't love to color? I'm watching the video, too. Can we really cure depression and rid the world of a horrible epidemic by giving a gift of crayons and some paper? Love, Debby

    P.S. I am sharing this hubpages with all of my friends.