Who Invented Crayola Crayons


Can you imagine how dull the world would be without colors? Colors play a very significant role in peoples’ lives by visually representing the world around them. Color can affect feelings, moods or emotions. One part of our individual characteristics in being human is the ability to be artistic. Even primitive people were discovered to practice art during their time. Artwork found inside cave walls are believed to be constructed by our primitive ancestors. According to a study, plant pigments were used to create these brilliant masterpieces. The most important aspect of creating artwork is the ability to have coloring materials. Without this medium, artwork would be monotonous.

The Invention of Crayola Crayons

In 1903, cousins Edwin Binney and Harold Smith invented something that has remained popular to even this day. This coloring stick was made for children and named crayons. Crayon is a French word that means pencils. Alice Stead Binney, wife of Edwin, named the Crayons Crayola and became its popular brand. Crayola is a combination of French words craie (chalk) and oleaginous (oily). Crayola is a non-toxic crayons and were the first crayons ever made for children. It was first launched with a box of eight brilliant colors. The eight colors of crayons in the box include primary colors (red, blue and yellow) and secondary colors (green, orange and purple) plus black and brown.

In present time, over a hundred different types of coloring sticks were made by Crayola. They have never stopped exploring new innovations and finding ways to apply them to new products. Some examples of these innovations are crayons that glow in the dark, sparkle with tiny glitter particles, smell like flowers, change colors, wash off walls, or are water based.

The birth of Crayola Crayons goes back to 1864 with the Peekskill Chemical Company in New York. This was founded by a very clever man named Joseph Binney who was the father of Edwin Binney. The chemical company would product products that were similar to paint and contained red iron oxide particles. These paints were commonly used for painting barns and have also become a part of American history.

Peekskill Chemical Company was also responsible for the creation of an improved tire thread used by cars during that time. By adding carbon black on the tire thread, it increased its life by four to five times. In 1885, Joseph’s beloved son and Nephew, Edwin Binney and Harold Smith, established a partnership named Binney’s and Smith’s. These two competitive cousins expand the product line of the company by including shoe polish as well as a printing ink.

In 1990, they have acquired a stone mill located in Easton, Pennsylvania. Because of this, they had the capability of producing pencils for various schools. They came up with an idea of producing not only pencils but coloring mediums as well. Although they had already an invention which are crayons made from wax that is used for marking barrels and crates, still it cannot be used by children because it was full of harmful chemicals and it is too toxic. Since kids are included in their potential market, Binney’s and Smith’s have started researching for non-toxic colorful drawing materials for kids and Crayola was invented.

Psychology of Color