Copyright © Françoise Herrmann
|2017 Crayola® crayons|
Indeed, the first Crayola® crayons were produced in 1903!
The children’s crayon company, Crayola LLC, a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards since 1984, began in 1885 as the Binney & Smith Company.
The Binney & Smith Company specialized in industrial pigment supply, and in particular the manufacture of charcoal black using a patented process.
The Binney & Smith patented process for producing charcoal black, one of the oldest pigments in history, was disclosed in 1891, in US453140, titled APPARATUS FOR THE MANUFACTURE 0F CARBON BLACK.
The newly patented process brought sweeping changes to the previous art which consisted in burning oil lamps in specially-built and closed-off buildings. After burning the lamp oil which gave off black “soot” fumes, the buildings were then left to cool, before recruiting workers to scrape the deposited “lamp-black” off the walls.
|US453140 - Crosssection of chamber with scrapers|
In contrast, the Binney & Smith invention for producing charcoal black pigment disclosed an automated process. This novel process comprised an apparatus, with a circular depositing chamber (Fig. 2 above). All the carboniferous fumes could thus be directed for deposit on the walls of the chamber where scrapers subsequently collected the lamp-black from the walls of the chamber. In turn, the scrapings were collected on a conveyor belt.
Thus, the Binney & Smith invention bypassed all the problems of the prior art in terms of labor costs, lost pigment to the building walls, and downtime for the building to cool, not to mention the hazards of entering a building with oil lamp fumes and inhaling soot particles …
Beyond this new process for producing charcoal black, Binney & Smith also found a way of manufacturing dustless chalk, for which they were awarded a gold medal at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis.
|1903 Binney & Smith Co. Crayola|
In 1903, bringing together what had been discovered for the production of pigmented products, dustless chalk and colored wax markers for industrial purposes, the first boxes of 8 Binney & Smith crayons were produced, with added safety, for children.
Crayola® Company lore has on record that the term “Crayola” arose from the merging of two French words: “craie” meaning “chalk”, and “ol(a)” a prefix meaning “oil”, since the crayons are made from a combination of petroleum-based wax and chalk. As for the crayon colors, they grew in multiples of 8 from 1905 to the present day 200-color spectrum. An exponential leap in colors occurred in 1926, when the Munsell Color Company’s line of crayon colors was acquired by the Binney & Smith Company.
On March 31, 2017, National Crayon Day in the US, Crayola® announced early retirement of the Dandelion yellow color!
Although Crayola® now produces many different sorts of coloring instruments for children, these little chalk+wax combination coloring tools have endured, and evidently, continue to delight
1904 World Fair
History of Crayola® crayons
National Day Calendar - March 31 - National Crayon Day