Alice Binney, wife of company co-owner Edwin Binney, coined the word Crayola by joining craie, from the French word meaning chalk, with ola, from oleaginous, meaning oily. In 1864, Joseph W. Binney began the Peekskill Chemical Works in Peekskill, New York, producing hardwood charcoal and a black pigment called lampblack. In 1880 he opened a New York office and invited his son, Edwin Binney, and his nephew, C. Harold Smith, to join the company. The cousins renamed the company Binney & Smith and expanded the product line to include shoe polish, printing ink, black crayons, and chalk.
In 1903, the Binney & Smith company made the first box of Crayola crayons costing a nickel and containing eight colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black.
The now-classic 64-box of crayons, complete with built-in sharpener, was introduced in 1958.
In 1993, Binney & Smith celebrated Crayola brand's ninetieth birthday by introducing the biggest crayon box ever with 96 colors.
In 1949, Binney & Smith introduced another forty colors: Apricot, Bittersweet, Blue Green, Blue Violet, Brick Red, Burnt Sienna, Carnation Pink, Cornflower, Flesh (renamed Peach in 1962, partly as a result of the civil rights movement), Gold, Gray, Green Blue, Green Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Magenta, Mahogany, Maize, Maroon, Melon, Olive Green, Orange Red, Orange Yellow, Orchid, Periwinkle, Pine Green, Prussian Blue (renamed Midnight Blue in 1958 in response to teachers' requests), Red Orange, Red Violet, Salmon, Sea Green, Silver, Spring Green, Tan, Thistle, Turquoise Blue, Violet Blue, Violet Red, White, Yellow Green, and Yellow Orange.
In 1958, Binney & Smith added sixteen colors, bringing the total number of colors to 64: Aquamarine, Blue Gray, Burnt Orange, Cadet Blue, Copper, Forest Green, Goldenrod, Indian Red, Lavender, Mulberry, Navy Blue, Plum, Raw Sienna, Raw Umber, Sepia, and Sky Blue.
In 1972, Binney & Smith introduced eight fluorescent colors: Atomic Tangerine, Blizzard Blue, Hot Magenta, Laser Lemon, Outrageous Orange, Screamin' Green, Shocking Pink, and Wild Watermelon. In 1990, the company introduced eight more fluorescent colors: Electric Lime, Magic Mint, Purple Pizzazz, Radical Red, Razzle Dazzle Rose, Sunglow, Unmellow Yellow, and Neon Carrot.
In 1990, Binney & Smith retired eight traditional colored crayons from its 64-crayon box (Green Blue, Orange Red, Orange Yellow, Violet Blue, Maize, Lemon Yellow, Blue Gray, and Raw Umber) and replaced them with such New Age hues as (Cerulean, Vivid Tangerine, Jungle Green, Fuchsia, Dandelion, Teal Blue, Royal Purple, and Wild Strawberry). Retired colors were enshrined in the Crayola Hall of Fame. Protests from groups such as RUMPS (The Raw Umber and Maize Preservation Society) and CRAYON (The Committee to Reestablish All Your Old Norms) convinced Binney & Smith to release the one million boxes of the Crayola Eight in October 1991.
In 1993, Binney & Smith introduced sixteen more colors, all named by consumers: Asparagus, Cerise, Denim, Granny Smith Apple, Macaroni and Cheese, Mauvelous, Pacific Blue, Purple Mountain's Majesty, Razzmatazz, Robin's Egg Blue, Shamrock, Tickle Me Pink, Timber Wolf, Tropical Rain Forest, Tumbleweed, and Wisteria.
In 1998, Binney & Smith introduced twenty-four new colors, bringing the total number of colors to 120: Almond, Antique Brass, Banana Mania, Beaver, Blue Bell, Brink Pink, Canary, Caribbean Green, Cotton Candy, Cranberry, Desert Sand, Eggplant, Fern, Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown, Manatee, Mountain Meadow, Outer Space, Pig Pink, Pink Flamingo, Purple Heart, Shadow, Sunset Orange, Torch Red, and Vivid Violet.
Washington Irving used the pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon when he published The Sketch-Book, a collection of short stories and essays, including "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle."
On average, children between the ages of two and seven color 28 minutes every day.
The average child in the United States will wear down 730 crayons by his or her tenth birthday.
The scent of Crayola crayons is among the twenty most recognizable to American adults.
The Crayola brand name is recognized by 99 percent of all Americans.
Red barns and black tires got their colors thanks in part to two of Binney & Smith's earliest products: red pigment and carbon black. Red and black are also the most popular crayon colors, mostly because children tend to use them for outlining.
Binney & Smith is dedicated to environmental responsibility. Crayons that don't meet quality standards are remelted and used to make new crayons. Ninety percent of Crayola products packaging is made from recycled cardboard. The company also makes sure the wood in their colored pencils doesn't originate from tropical rain forests.
Binney & Smith produces two billion Crayola crayons a year, which, if placed end to end, would circle the earth 4.5 times.
Crayola crayon boxes are printed in eleven languages: Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.