Blog inspiration, for me, comes randomly. I was recently asked if I plan out my calendar with ideas, and the truth is, I don’t. I end up seeing something- in stores, on social media, in magazines- and I get inspired. Case and point- today’s topic, the history of Crayola. I was literally in my driveway one day with the kiddos when I realized just how often I use this brand throughout my home, and I wanted to share some fun facts on the company with you. So let’s get started…
I am sure you have used the crayons, but believe it or not I go through more chalk than any crayon box in Texas. My kids love being outside, playing with the neighbors, and creating artwork for their dad on the walkway. It’s an activity we have been doing for years and it never, ever gets old. Which is exactly what the brand stands for and wants for all of us- to allow kids to be kids and to make lasting family memories with their products. So I am truly honored to share a little bit about this iconic company with you today.
Crayola was founded in 1885 by two cousins, Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith in New York City. It was called Binney & Smith, and at the time it was producing colorants for industrial use (think red barn paint and black chemicals for tires). But in 1900 they entered a competition at the Paris Exposition and won a gold medal in chemical arts. In addition, they began producing slate school pencils and created the first dustless white chalk.
In 1902 the company became incorporated and introduced the marking crayon, followed by the now famous line of wax crayons in 1903 (that sold under the name Crayola). As a side note, Edwin’s wife, Alice Binney, came up with the name and was a former school teacher. Over the next few years five sizes of crayons and 18 box options were developed, but only a handful of the bestsellers remain today.
In 1926 Binney & Smith purchased the Munsell Color Company and inherited 22 new colors. As the years went on the company continued to expand their color offering, and by 1958 they had a 64 pack available for consumers.
In 1963 the company became publicly traded. In 1977 they acquired Silly Putty. And in 1984 the company was acquired by Hallmark Cards. It was then in 1987 that colored pencils and washable markers were introduced. And in 2003 the company celebrated 100 years of “making the world a more colorful place for children.”
So what’s happening today? Besides the introduction of new products and maintaining it’s superior quality in the creative space, Crayola is focused on social and environmental priorities. They mention on their website that “green” is their favorite color, and that they are doing everything they can to be more responsible with how they operate the company. And between their Solar Farm and Crayola ColorCycle initiatives currently in place, I would say they are on their way to once again exceeding the industry standard. It’s 114 years later and they are still relevant, trusted, in demand, and yet striving to be even better. Pretty amazing if you ask me.
I honestly couldn’t be a bigger fan of this company, what they stand for, and the moments I have with my boys. I truly hope you enjoyed this little retail history lesson and if you need any additional information, please head over to their website.
And to Crayola- lots of luck, as always. Hopefully I can meet you in person one day and extend my gratitude for your commitment to quality and childhood memories.