The following is a partial timeline of Crayola's history. It covers the Crayola brand of marking utensils, as well as the history of Binney & Smith, the company that created the brand and is currently a subsidiary of Hallmark Cards known as Crayola LLC.
1885: Joseph Binney retires; Edwin and C. Harold Smith, form a partnership and call their company Binney & Smith. Early products include red oxidepigment used in barn paint and carbon black used for cartires. During this time, Binney & Smith took an active role in the development and production of carbon black from natural gas, after natural gas deposits were found throughout Pennsylvania.
1902: "Binney & Smith Company" is formed September 30, in Easton, Pennsylvania, and serves as general distributor for several carbon black producers, introducing Carbon black to other countries. This also marks their first crayon product, the industry crayon "Staonal" in black. This crayon precedes the Crayola brand by a full year and still exists to this year.
1903: Noticing a need for safe, quality, and affordable wax crayons, the company produces their first boxes of crayons from the No. 30 box containing 30 unwrapped colors to the No. 51 box of 28 wrapped colors. The No. 54 box contains 8 classic colors and the first one sells for a nickel. A total of 40 colors are introduced including Black, Blue, Brown, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber (later retired in 1949), Celestial Blue (later retired in 1944), Charcoal Gray (later retired in 1910), Copper, Dark Blue (later Prussian Blue then Midnight Blue), Dark Green (later Pine Green), English Vermillion (later retired in 1935), Flesh Tint (later Flesh then Peach), Gold, Golden Ochre (later Gold Ochre then Maize, later retired in 1990) Green, Indian Red (later Chestnut), Lemon Yellow (was once later Light Yellow, later retired in 1990), Light Blue (was once later Cobalt Blue, later retired in 1958), Madder Lake (later retired in 1935), Medium Green (later retired in 1939), Medium Yellow (later Goldenrod), Olive Green, Orange, Permanent Geranium Lake (later retired in 1910), Permanent Magenta (later Magenta), Raw Sienna, Raw Umber (later retired in 1990), Red, Rose Pink (later Carnation Pink), Sea Green, Sepia, Silver, Ultramarine Blue (later retired in 1958), Van Dyke brown (later retired in 1910), Venetian Red (later retired in 1949), Violet, White, and Yellow.
1904: Binney & Smith wins the Gold Medal during the April 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Their entry was actually for their An-Du-Septic dustless chalk, but it was the foundation of their "Gold Medal" packaging in which they featured the gold medal on the front of their crayon boxes for the next 50 or so years. Given that this award wasn't given out until April 1904 and Crayola had been selling since August 1903, it is a misconception that the famous box shown on the postage stamp and in numerous other historical articles and web pages is "the" actual first design of their Crayola boxes because the box shown in all of those pictures has that Gold Medal on the front.
1905: Binney redesigns their 8-color assortment to use the famous "Gold Medal" label and design. They also renamed the box to be the No. 8, following and earlier such introduction by the Franklin Mfg. Co. for their Rainbow line of crayons. This first and only Gold Medal box used the Eagle side of the Gold Medal and was the only assortment size to use this side of the medal as it was changed to the other side before they expanded the line to other assortment sizes in 1910. This also marks the year that they introduced Spectra, a pastel crayon line.
1907: Binney & Smith partnered with Milton Bradley to product the Crayola No. 77 assortment box with Milton Bradley printed on the box also.
1908: Binney & Smith partnered with Littlefield Maps to make a special color assortment of their Rubens-Crayola No. 12 box with special Biblical colors pasted on the back to accommodate church work on their Old Testament maps.
1909: Binney & Smith launched their Durel line of pressed crayons
Binney & Smith expands their Gold Medal line to include the debut of their No. 16 box (which also followed an earlier debut of a 16-color assortment by Franklin Mfg. Co.). They also discontinued many of their original boxes in favor of standardizing more to this Gold Medal line.
Three crayon colors are discontinued including Charcoal Gray, Permanent Geranium Lake, and Van Dyke Brown.
Raw Sienna becomes unavailable until 1958.
1911: Binney & Smith launch their Cerola brand of crayons targeted toward the lower end quality but more affordable markets
1912: Binney & Smith's carbon black is first used on tires to make black tires. They also launched their Cerata brand of crayons.
1913: Marks the launch of the Little Folks outfit boxes (Nos. 25 & 50) along with a Picture Tracer box.
1915: The Boston crayon line debuts. This also marks the discontinuation of the No. 101 assortment box that contained Gold, Silver and Copper crayon colors. While Gold and Silver was available as a bulk purchase, these three original colors couldn't be found on a retail assortment box for the next 30 years. Copper goes away until 1958.
1919: The design of their Gold Medal boxes is changed to drop the Paris reference. They also launch their No. 88 8-color tins.
1920: Perma Pressed Sharpenable Fine Art Crayons are added to the growing product line, which also includes new Artista brand paints.
1922: Binney & Smith expand their Little Folks outfit concept by introducing a number of Toy Sets with specific themes.Included in the launch are Crayola Color Kit for Kiddies (No. 508), Crayola Crusader Box (No. 503), Crayola Snowbound Color Box (No. 500), Crayola Dream Stories Color Set (No. 501), Crayola Home Run Color Box (No. 503), Crayola Little Boy Blue Paint Box (No. 501), Crayola Color it and Trace it Outfit (No. 502), Crayola Bird-Land Color Set (No. 516), Crayola Chummy Animals Color Set (No. 510), Uncle Wiggily Crayola Color Box (No. 506), Crayola Golden Treasure Color Set (No. 518), Crayola Rob Roy Color Box (No. 513). While attractive and theme driven, they later concluded that the higher cost made these some of their least successful products.
1923: Corporate offices move from 81–83 Fulton St. to 41 East 42nd Street in New York City.
1924: Perma and Tiny Tot crayon lines debut.
Binney & Smith launch their Perma and Crayolet crayon lines. They also begin publishing their bi-monthly art publication “The Drawing Teacher”
Five new crayon colors are introduced including Maximum Black (later retired in 1935), Maximum Yellow Red (later Yellow Orange), Middle Blue (later Light Turquoise Blue then Aquamarine), Middle Blue Green (later Blue Green), and Middle Gray (later Neutral Gray then Gray)
Binney & Smith Co. launch the Snookum’s Crayola Color Set No. 25 based on the popular baby actor who died of blood poisoning several years later at the age of 7
Binney & Smith Co. launch the Besco line and redesign their Gold Medal boxes to remove the ornate scrolling
1929: Binney & Smith Co. discontinues all of their Toy Sets and Color Outfits except their Little Folks No. 25 and No. 50.
Binney & Smith Co. launches their Chic’ago line of pastel crayons
Four new crayon colors are released including Blue Violet, Red Orange, Red Violet, and Yellow Green
1931: C. Harold Smith, co-founder of Binney & Smith Co. dies
1934: Edwin Binney, co-founder of Binney & Smith Co. dies
Two new crayon colors are released including Carmine (later Carmine Red, later retired in 1958) and Turquoise Blue
Three crayon colors are discontinued including English Vermillion, Madder Lake, and Maximum Black
1936: Binney & Smith becomes a founding member of the Crayon, Watercolor and Craft Institute, promoting product safety in art materials.
1939: The Medium Green crayon is discontinued
The Celestial Blue crayon is discontinued
Ultramarine Blue and Sepia are not available until 1958
The Gamboge Yellow Crayon is discontinued due to World War II
1948: To educate art teachers about the many ways to use the growing number of Crayola products, a teacher workshop program begins to offer in-school training across the country.
1949: Crayola releases its first 48-count box this year. 10 new crayon colors are added including Azure Blue (later retired in 1958), Brilliant Rose (later retired in 1958), Cerulean Blue (later retired in 1958), Dark Red (later Maroon), Light Magenta (later Thistle, later retired in 2000), Mahogany, Medium Red Violet (later Orchid), Medium Rose (later retired in 1958), Medium Violet (later retired in 1958), and Salmon. Two crayon colors are discontinued including Burnt Umber and Venetian Red.
1964: Crayola acquires Permanent Pigments Inc., producers of Liquitex art materials.
1969: The company opens an additional factory in Easton, Pennsylvania, followed five years later by a new corporate headquarters.
Binney & Smith Inc. purchases the Cosmic Crayon Co. in Bedford, UK and uses its facilities for their European operation by making it Binney & Smith (Europe), Ltd.
Binney & Smith adds eight Fluorescent colors (All of which are later renamed): Ultra Pink (later Shocking Pink), Hot Magenta (later Razzle Dazzle Rose), Ultra Red (later Wild Watermelon), Ultra Orange (later Outrageous Orange), Ultra Yellow (later Atomic Tangerine), Chartreuse (later Laser Lemon), Ultra Green (later Screamin' Green) and Ultra Blue (later Blizzard Blue, retired in 2003). There are now 72 colors in the biggest box of crayons.
Binney & Smith Inc. opens their Mexico operations, Binney & Smith Mexicol, S.A.
1975: Fire destroys the Binney & Smith Bedford factory on Aug 10. A new factory was built and operational by Oct.
1976: Binney & Smith corporate headquarters relocate from New York City to Forks Township in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Eight crayon colors—Maize, Raw Umber, Lemon Yellow, Blue Gray, Orange Yellow, Orange Red, Green Blue and Violet Blue—are retired into the Crayola Hall of Fame in Easton, Pennsylvania. 16 new colors were introduced including Cerulean, Dandelion (later retired in 2017), Electric Lime, Fuchsia, Hot Magenta, Jungle Green, Magic Mint (later retired in 2003), Neon Carrot, Purple Pizzazz, Radical Red, Royal Purple, Sunglow, Unmellow Yellow, Vivid Tangerine, Teal Blue (later retired in 2003), and Wild Strawberry. There are now 80 colors in the biggest box of crayons. Crayola also introduces Silver Swirls crayons, a pack of 24 silvery colors.
Various colors were renamed: Ultra Yellow was renamed Atomic Tangerine, Ultra Blue was renamed Blizzard Blue (retired in 2003), Chartreuse was renamed Laser Lemon, Ultra Orange was renamed Outrageous Orange, Hot Magenta (I) was renamed Razzle Dazzle Rose, Ultra Green was renamed Screamin' Green, Ultra Pink was renamed Shocking Pink, and Ultra Red was renamed Wild Watermelon.
Emerson Moser, then Crayola's most senior crayon moulder, retired after 37 years. After moulding approximately 1.4 billion crayons, he revealed that he is actually blue–green color blind.
The eight retired crayon colors are put into tins with a 64 count box for a limited time.
Crayola releases the 8 pack of multicultural crayon colors.
1993: Binney & Smith celebrates the Crayola brand's 90th birthday with its biggest crayon box ever, as there are now 96 colors in the biggest box of crayons, including 16 new colors. For the first time, the company asks consumers to name the colors through the Crayola Name the New Colors Contest: the winning names include Asparagus, Cerise, Denim, Granny Smith Apple, Macaroni and Cheese, Pacific Blue, Purple Mountain's Majesty, Razzmatazz, Robin's Egg Blue, Shamrock, Tickle Me Pink, Timberwolf, Tropical Rain Forest, Mauvelous, Tumbleweed, and Wisteria.Color Wonder products debuted; Hot Fluorescent crayon boxes (8 and 16) are renamed Neons.
Crayola changes some of the scents in Magic Scent crayons due to complaints of their smelling good enough to eat (e.g. Cherry, Chocolate, Blueberry)
The 100 billionth Crayola crayon rolls off the production line in Easton. The wax for that crayon was poured by Mister Rogers.
On July 16, Binney & Smith celebrates the grand opening of The Crayola Factory visitors' center in Easton with the Crayola ColorJam parade.
All Crayola products receive new logo design for the year.
Crayola introduces Color Mix-up, Pearl Brite, Crayons with Glitter and Star Brite.
12 new colors are introduced including Caribbean Green, Pink Flamingo, Sunset Orange, True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #1 (later Outer Space), True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #2 (later Mountain Meadow), True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #3 (later Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown then Fuzzy Wuzzy), True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #4 (later Brink Pink then Pink Sherbert), True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #5 (later Shadow), True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #6 (later Banana Mania), True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #7 (later Torch Red then Scarlet) True Blue Heroes Crayon Color #8 (later Purple Heart) and Vivid Violet.
The Crayola 64 Box is reintroduced in its original packaging, complete with built-in sharpener. A 1958 Crayola 64 Box becomes part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
The True Blue Heroes colors got their actual color names.
12 new colors are introduced including Almond, Antique Brass, Beaver, Blue Bell, Canary, Cotton Candy, Cranberry (later Blush), Desert Sand, Eggplant, Fern, Manatee, and Piggy Pink. There are now 120 colors in the biggest box of crayons.
The Crayola 12 pack of Twistable Colored Pencils is released.
The Crayola 8 pack of Silly Scents Colored Pencils is released.
For the third time in Crayola history a crayon is renamed because of social concerns. Indian red becomes "chestnut" because teachers reported that schoolchildren often wrongly perceived the color to be the skin color of Native Americans. The name in fact did not refer to Native Americans, but to a pigment produced in India and used in oil paints.
Another crayon color—Thistle—is retired into the Crayola Hall of Fame, totaling 45 retired colors and replaced by newcomer Indigo. There are still 120 colors available.
Torch Red is renamed Scarlet.
2001: Crayola introduces Metallic FX Crayons and Gel FX crayons.
Crayola introduces Glitter Crayons.
Crayola introduces the Crayon Maker.
2003: Four more crayon colors—Blizzard Blue, Magic Mint, Mulberry, and Teal Blue—are retired into the Crayola Hall of Fame, totaling 49 retired colors and replaced by Inchworm, Jazzberry Jam, Mango Tango, and Wild Blue Yonder. There are still 120 colors available.
Crayola introduces the 24 color set of mini twistable crayons.
Crayola introduces the 24 set of Fun Effects mini twistable crayons containing 8 regular colors, 8 rainbow colors, and 8 eXtreme colors.
Cranberry is renamed Blush and Brink Pink is renamed Pink Sherbert.
Crayola introduces Heads n' Tails Crayons.
The Crayola 150-count Telescoping Crayon Tower is released.
On January 1, Binney & Smith is renamed to Crayola LLC, to improve Crayola branding as part of Hallmark.
Crayola introduces Silly Scents and True To Life Crayons.
The Crayola 18 pack vibrant set of Twistable Colored Pencils is released.
The Crayola 64 pack of short colored pencils is released.
Crayola introduces the Kids Choice Crayons.
Crayola introduces Extreme Twistables Colors.
The Crayola 30 pack of Twistable Colored Pencils is released.
The Crayola Solar Farm is completed and included more than 30,000 solar panels producing 3 megawatts of electricity. The solar panels generate enough electricity to produce 1 billion crayons and 500 million markers per year.
The Crayola 12 pack of Ultra Cool and Super Hot colored pencils is released.
2013: Crayola introduces the marker maker
2014: Crayola introduces Ultra-Clean Washable crayons and markers, featuring ColorMax: "Our brightest, truest colors yet!" Also, The Crayola 152-count Easy-choose container is released
The classic Dandelion crayon was discontinued into the Crayola Hall of Fame on March 31, 2017.
Bluetiful was introduced in September 2017 as the new color replacing Dandelion.
Crayola introduces the 24-count Pearl Crayons alongside the upgraded 24-count boxes of Metallic, Neon and Glitter Crayons. Metallic FX was reverted to its original name Metallic Crayons for this release, with eight new colors and the color Metallic Sunburst being renamed to Robot Canary.
Crayola introduces the 'Colors of the World' 24-count crayon box in an effort to provide children with many different backgrounds access to crayons that are reflective of their own skin tone.