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10 Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About Crayons

For instance, the original name for Crayola was coined by Alice Binney.


Happy National Crayon Day! It's a day that coincidentally falls on Crayola's 132nd birthday. While Crayola may not have invented crayons, they certainly are the brand that we associate them with, which is why in honor of this color-packed celebration, we wanted to share some fun facts with you.


1. The first box of Crayola crayons made in 1903 cost only a nickel and included the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black.

The traditional pack now contains 24, one of which is going to be retired tomorrow. We wonder which one it will be… 


2. Speaking of beginnings and while it's still Women's History Month, did you know that the name Crayola was coined by Alice Binney, the wife of Edwin Binney, one of the company's founders?

She came up with Crayola by combining the words "craie," which is French for chalk, and "ola," for oleaginous, because crayons are made from petroleum based paraffin. How clever!


3. It's been scientifically proven that the smell of a crayon is universal.

In fact, a study was done by Yale on the 20 most recognizable scents and crayons were number 18 on the list. Unsurprisingly, coffee was number one. It wasn't always this way though. Crayola crayon's used to smell like food, brown smelled like chocolate, red like cherry, etc. However, in 1995, parents complained to the company that they were worried kids would eat their crayons and so the scent was changed.


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Photography by: Aaron Dyer

4. During Crayola's 100th anniversary in 2003, founders Binney & Smith asked children to send in any unwanted blue "leftolas." (The term used to describe leftover Crayola crayons.)

They wanted to created a giant blue crayon and with the help of 123,000 crayons sent in, they were able to create Big Blue, a 1,500 pound crayon that is 15 feet long and has a 16-inch diameter. Crayola fans can go see Big Blue at the Crayola Experience tour in Easton, Pennsylvania —  blue was chosen because it's Crayola's most popular color.


5. One of Crayola's workers of 35 years was actually color-blind.

Nonetheless, he molded over 1.4 billion crayons for the company and Crayola even asked him to donate his wax-covered work boots to their hall of fame.


6. The average child wears down 720 crayons by their tenth birthday.

(That's a lot of coloring!)


7. One of the few independent buyers of Crayola crayons is artist Herb Williams. 

He's known for creating sculptures made up of hundreds of thousands of crayons, which he buys from Crayola in packs of 3000.


8. The first time the term "crayon" was used in a literary sense, was in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. 

More specifically, it's the part when Elizabeth Bennet looks at some of Mr. Darcy's sister's crayon artwork. 


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9. Crayola makes 3 billion crayons a year. 

That's enough crayons to circle the world six times!


10. In 1962, Crayola made a big statement by changing the name of flesh to peach, recognizing that like crayons, people come in different colors.

There is also a set of multicultural crayons for different skin colors that came out in 1992.


Want to celebrate National Crayon Day by making your own crayons? Here's how to make homemade marble crayons: