All children love getting creative, with drawing and colouring not only a fun way to spend time but also an important part in a child’s development. Crayons are great for kids to get to grips with, and when we think of crayons we automatically think of Crayola, a quality brand that has been in existence for over 100 years. If we cast our minds back to our own childhood, its more than likely they we used to create our masterpieces using Crayola crayons, with their distinctive packaging and smell instantly recognisable. We take a moment to look at where this iconic brand originated from, which has bought the artist out in us all.
In 1885, Edwin Binney and his cousin C. Harold Smith formed a company in the United States which supplied colorants for use in industry. Under the company name Binney & Smith, the colorants and pigments they produced were used in paint, and their award winning carbon black chemicals used by manufacturers for numerous applications including to black tyres. By 1900, the company also produced school pencils and were credited with inventing the first dustless white chalk – which won them a gold medal at the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904.
1903 saw Binney & Smith launch their colour crayons, they sold for 1 nickel a pack and contained 8 crayons and were named Crayola. The Crayola name was an idea which came from Edwin’s wife, with Craie being French for chalk and ola originating from oleaginous meaning oil or oily. Further additions to the product range would be available in 1920 with the launch of Crayola Rubens and Perma Pressed fine art crayons which were used by artists together with Artista paint products which featured in the portfolio.
A key factor for Binney & Smith was the fact that their products were non-toxic, and provided a safe option for those using them. As such Binney & Smith are credited as being founding members of the Crayon, Watercolor and Craft Institute, a prime focus of which was art material product safety.
Out of these high standards for quality and safety, the popularity of Binney & Smith products grew, as did their product range with the introduction of paints, coloured pencils and pens, with washable markers later proving a dream for Mothers everywhere. Crayola is also known for the iconic toy Silly Putty, which the company acquired to the rights to in 1977.
Such is the success of the Crayola brand that today it is sold in over 80 countries, with a vast array of products in its range offering endless possibilities for budding artists.
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