|Binney & Smith Company|
Subsidiary of Hallmark Cards|
(formerly Binney & Smith Company)
|Founded||March 31, 1885 (as Binney & Smith Company)|
|Headquarters||Forks Township, Pennsylvania, United States|
Number of locations
Number of employees
Crayola is a brand of artists' supplies manufactured by Crayola, LLC (formerly Binney & Smith Company) and best known for its crayons. The company is based in Forks Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Since 1984, Crayola has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards. Originally an industrial pigment supply company, Crayola soon shifted its focus to art products for home and school use, beginning with chalk, then crayons, followed later by colored pencils, markers, paints, modeling clay, and other related goods. All Crayola-branded products are marketed as nontoxic and safe for use by children. Most Crayola crayons are made in the United States.
The company also produces Silly Putty and a line of professional art products under the Portfolio Series brand.
The company was founded by cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith in New York City on March 31, 1885 as Binney & Smith. Initial products were colorants for industrial use, including red iron oxide pigments used in barn paint and carbon black chemicals used for making tires black and extending their useful lifespan. Binney & Smith's new process of creating inexpensive black colorants was entered into the chemistry industries competition at the 1900 Paris Exposition under the title "carbon gas blacks, lamp or oil blacks, 'Peerless' black" and earned the company a gold medal award in chemical and pharmaceutical arts. Also in 1900, the company added production of slate school pencils. Binney's experimentation with industrial materials, including slate waste, cement, and talc, led to the invention of the first dustless white chalk, for which the company won a gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.
Initially formed as a partnership, Binney & Smith incorporated in 1902.
In 1902, Binney & Smith developed and introduced the Staonal marking crayon. Then Edwin Binney, working with his wife, Alice Stead Binney, developed his own famous product line of wax crayons beginning on 10 June 1903, which it sold under the brand name "Crayola". The Crayola name was coined by Alice Binney, wife of company founder Edwin and a former schoolteacher. It comes from "craie", French for "chalk," and "ola" for "oleaginous", or "oily." The suffix "-ola" was also popular in commercial use at the time, lending itself to products such as granola (1886), pianola (1901), Victrola (1905), Shinola (1907) and Mazola (1911). Crayola introduced its crayons not with one box, but with a full product line. By 1905, the line had expanded to offering 18 different-sized crayon boxes with five different-sized crayons, only two of which survive today—the "standard size" (a standard sized Crayola crayon is 3 5⁄8" × 5/16") and the "large size" (large sized crayola crayons are 4" × 7/16"). The product line offered crayon boxes containing 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 16, 18, 24, 28, or 30 different color crayons. Some of these boxes were targeted for artists and contained crayons with no wrappers, while others had a color number printed on the wrapper that corresponded to a number on a list of color names printed inside the box lid, but some boxes contained crayons with their color names printed on their wrappers.
The Rubens Crayola line, started in 1903 (not in the 1920s, as claimed by some sources), was directly targeted at artists and designed to compete with the Raphael brand of crayons from Europe. The crayon boxes sold from five cents for a No.6 Rubens box containing six different-colored crayons to $1.50 for the No. 500 Rubens Special Artists and Designers Crayon box containing 24 different-colored, larger (4 1⁄4" × 1/2") crayons.
In April 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair, Binney & Smith won the Gold Medal for their An-Du-Septic dustless chalk. Subsequently, Crayola used the opportunity to develop a new packaging strategy by emphasizing their gold medal on the front of many of their products and crayon boxes. This strategy turned out to be so successful and recognizable to their brand that they phased out nearly all of their other Crayola line box designs to adapt to the gold medal format, which appeared on their packaging for the next 50-plus years.
In 1905, the prototype offering of their new No. 8 crayon box (with eight crayons) featured a copy from the side of the medal with an eagle on it. This was changed to the other side of the medal with the 1904 date on it in Roman numerals.
Binney & Smith purchased the Munsell Color Company crayon product line in 1926, and inherited 22 new colors, 11 in the maximum and 11 in the middle hue ranges. They retained the Munsell name on products such as “Munsell-Crayola” and “Munsell-Perma” until 1934, and then incorporated their colors into their own Crayola Gold Medal line of boxes.
In 1939, Crayola, by combining its existing crayon colors with the Munsell colors, introduced its largest color assortment product to date; a "No. 52 Drawing Crayon 52 Color Assortment", which was retired by the 1944 price list.
In 1949, Crayola introduced the "Crayola No. 48" containing 48 color crayons in a non-peggable floor box.
Further expansion took place in 1958 with the introduction of the 64-color pack that included the company's first crayon sharpener built into the box. The 64-color box was called "a watershed" moment in the history of the Crayola crayon by Smithsonian National Museum of American History curator David Shayt.
In 1977, Binney & Smith acquired the rights to Silly Putty, a stretchy bouncy toy. Crayola markers were introduced in 1978 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Crayola crayons. In 1984, the company was acquired by Hallmark Cards, a privately held corporation. Colored pencils and a line of washable markers were added in 1987.
In 2011, My First Crayola was launched. Products include triangular crayons and flat-tipped markers.
Crayola crayon packs vary in package counts of just a few crayons sold to establishments such as hotels and restaurants, to hand out to their young guests to 832-crayon "Classpack" bulk boxes marketed to schools. The colors contained in a package have ranged from two to 200 (although a 200-color package includes "special effect" crayons such as glitters, neons, etc.). The most common retail packages are multiples of eight, with 8, 16, 24, 48, 64, 96, and 120 packs being marketed today. A 150-crayon pack featuring a plastic telescope-like case was introduced in 2006, and includes 118 regular color crayons, 16 glitter crayons, and 16 "Metallic FX" crayons, as well as a built-in sharpener at the apex of the tower. This was followed up by a 152-crayon set in a plastic yellow carrying case with all colors being exactly the same (including metallic and glitter crayons) except for the addition of "Piggy Pink" and "Blue Bell".
As the size of Crayola crayon packs increased from the original 1903 crayon packs, the variety of colors available has also increased—reaching 120 colors by 1998. Since 1998, new colors have been added, but always replacing existing colors. In all, 50 colors have been retired, bringing the total number of regular colors produced to 170.
The colors in the box below come in the packs of 8, 16, and 24:
|8 pack (as of 1903)||+8 = 16 pack (as of 1930)||+8 = 24 pack (as of 1999)|
A Yale University study on scent recognition found the scent of Crayola crayons is one of the most recognizable scents for adults, ranking at number 18, trailing coffee and peanut butter that were number one and two respectively, but beating out cheese and bleach, which placed at 19 and 20.
The Smithsonian National Museum of American History maintains a collection of Crayola crayons founded by an original 64-color box donated by Binney & Smith in 1998. The collection now includes more than 300 boxes of crayons.
The Crayola crayon was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame as a founding member at its inception.
Crayola has been featured in segments from the popular children's shows Sesame Street and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, with the official 100 billionth crayon molded by Fred Rogers himself in February 1996 at the plant in Easton.
Commemorative postage stamp
The stamp is part of the 1900s decade sheet of the Celebrate the Century souvenir sheet series, and was designed by Carl Herrman, illustrated by Richard Waldrep and printed by Ashton-Potter USA using the offset/intaglio process.
Crayola color census 2000
In 2000, Crayola held the "Crayola Color Census 2000" promotion in which Americans were asked to vote for their favorite Crayola crayon color. Celebrity entrants George W. Bush chose "Blue Bell", Tiger Woods chose "Wild Strawberry", and Courteney Cox chose "Red". Overall, "Blue" came in first, with "Cerulean" second and "Purple Heart" third.
The Crayola Experience
Originally opening as the Crayola Factory, the Crayola Experience is located at 30 Centre Square, Easton, Pennsylvania, at Two Rivers Landing, separate from the main manufacturing plant in Forks Township, Pennsylvania. The Crayola Experience is open to the public. The Crayola Experience is a museum and visitor center geared toward familiarizing guests with Crayola's history and products.
The Crayola Experience was featured in a Food Network episode of Dinner: Impossible. A dinner was held for 150 employees of the Crayola Experience to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 64-box of crayons. Chef Michael Symon's mission was to create an eight-course tasting menu for this event, where all eight items of the menu had to match eight randomly chosen Crayola crayon colors.
In October 2003, the Experience unveiled "The World's Largest Crayon," a 15-foot-long crayon weighing 1,500 lb as part of its celebration of 100 years of Crayola crayons. The giant crayon, 16 inches in diameter, is blue, and was made of leftover crayon bits sent in by children across the United States.
Although marketed to children and amateur artists, several professional artists have specialized in using Crayola crayons as their primary medium. Don Marco, who works with Crayola crayons and construction paper, is one of the better known crayon artists—having sold over one million prints of his original artworks.
Crayola LLC produces a broad range of products other than their famous crayons under the Crayola brand name. These include colored pencils, markers, inks and paints, modeling clays, coloring books, and artists' tools. As with all Crayola products, these are all marketed as nontoxic and safe for use by children.
Numerous products, ranging from bath and personal care items to bedding and electronics, are produced by other companies using the Crayola brand name under license. Crave Entertainment developed a Crayola-themed video game, titled Crayola Treasure Adventures, which was published by Nintendo in 2007.
In the 1996–1997 season, Crayola produced Christmas lights using its name with colors such as pink, orange, blue, gold, and red, and more.
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- Official site
- Official UK site
- Orange: A Crayola raw materials data sheet from the 1970s Smithsonian Institution Libraries