History of Crayola crayons

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An assortment of crayon boxes produced by Binney & Smith between 1903 and 1910

Since the introduction of Crayola drawing crayons by Binney & Smith in 1903, more than two hundred distinctive colors have been produced in a wide variety of assortments. Crayola became such a hit because the company figured out a way to inexpensively combine paraffin wax with safe pigments. The line has undergone several major revisions in its history, notably in 1935, 1949, 1958, and 1990. Numerous specialty crayons have also been produced, complementing the basic Crayola assortment.

1903: the original Crayola colors

A Crayola ad from 1905.

After several decades producing commercial pigments, Binney & Smith produced their first crayon, the black Staonal Marking Crayon, in 1902. The following year, the company decided to enter the consumer market with its first drawing crayons. The name Crayola was suggested by Alice Binney, wife of company founder Edwin Binney, combining craie, French for "chalk," a reference to the pastels that preceded and lent their name to the first drawing crayons, with the suffix -ola, meaning "oleaginous," a reference to the wax from which the crayons were made.[1] Initially this was just one of the brands produced by Binney & Smith; other crayons were produced under names such as Cerola, Cerata, Durel, Perma, and Boston, among others; but the Crayola brand proved the most successful, and was produced in two lines: Crayola Gold Medal School Crayons[2][3] and "Rubens" Crayola Artists' Crayons.[4]

Early Crayola advertising mentions thirty different colors,[5] although there is no official list; in fact thirty-eight different crayons are known from Crayola boxes of this period.[lower-alpha 1] The largest labeled assortment was box No. 51, titled Crayola Young Artists' Drawing Crayons, which included twenty-eight different crayons.[lower-alpha 2] Other colors were found in different boxes, including the "Rubens" No. 500, a twenty-four crayon assortment. The names of several crayons varied from box to box;[6] in general the larger assortments tended to use names associated with oil paints, and in fact early Crayola literature frequently describes drawing with crayons as a form of painting.[7]

Over time, simpler names were favored, and several colors were discontinued by 1910, including Light and Dark Venetian Red, Permanent Geranium Lake, Celestial Blue, Raw Sienna, and Charcoal Gray; the use of "Purple" as an alternative for "Violet" ended about 1914; and after 1915 Gold, Silver, and Copper were no longer available in assortments, although Gold and Silver were still available in bulk.[6]

Color[lower-alpha 3] Name Hexadecimal in their website depiction[lower-alpha 4] Notes[lower-alpha 5]
  Red #ED0A3F
  English Vermilion #CC474B Also spelled "Vermillion." Discontinued by 1935
  Madder Lake #CC3336 Discontinued by 1935
  Permanent Geranium Lake #E12C2C Discontinued by 1910.
  Indian Red #CD5C5C Same color as "Chestnut" (1999–present).
  Dark Venetian Red "Venetian Red, Dark" on labels. Discontinued by 1910.
  Venetian Red #C80815 Discontinued by 1949
  Light Venetian Red "Venetian Red, Light" on labels. Discontinued by 1910.
  Orange #FF8833
  Gold Ochre "Golden Ochre" on some labels. Same color as "Maize" (1958–1990).
Medium Chrome Yellow #FCD667 Same color as "Medium Yellow" (1903–1958) and "Goldenrod" (1958–present).
Yellow #FFFF00
Olive Green #B5B35C
Light Chrome Yellow [lower-alpha 6] On labels "Chrome Yellow, Light." Same color as "Light Yellow" (1903–1958) and "Lemon Yellow" (1903–1910, 1958–1990).
  Light Chrome Green "Chrome Green, Light" on labels. Same color as "Light Green" (1903–1935).
Green #008001
  Medium Chrome Green "Chrome Green, Medium" on labels. Same color as "Medium Green" (1903–1939).
  Dark Chrome Green #01786F "Chrome Green, Dark" on labels. Same color as "Dark Green" (1903–1949) and "Pine Green" (1958–present).
  Blue #2EB4E6 Same color as "Celestial Blue" (1930–1949) and "Azure Blue" (1949–1958).
  Prussian Blue [lower-alpha 7] Same color as "Midnight Blue" (1958–present).
  Cobalt Blue #0047AB Discontinued by 1958
  Celestial Blue #4997D0 Discontinued by 1944
  Ultramarine Blue #4166F5 Discontinued by 1958
  Purple #6A0DAD "Violet" from about 1914.
  Permanent Magenta #F653A6 Same color as "Magenta" (1903–present).
  Rose Pink #FF66CC Same color as "Pink" (1903–1917) and "Carnation Pink" (1958–present).
  Burnt Sienna #E97451
  Van Dyke Brown #664228 Same color as "Brown" (1903–1935).
  Flesh Tint #FFCBA4 Same color as "Flesh" (1949–1956, 1958–1962), "Pink Beige" (1956–1958), and "Peach" (1962–present).
  Burnt Umber #8A3324 Discontinued by 1949
  Raw Umber #826644 One of the 8 colors "Retired" in 1990
  Raw Sienna #D68A59 Discontinued by 1910.
  Gold #A57C00 Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only. Available only in bulk after 1915.
  Silver #AAA9AD Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only. Available only in bulk after 1915.
  Copper #B87333 Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only. Not Available between 1915 and 1950
  Black #000000
  Charcoal Gray Discontinued in 1910.
  White #FFFFFF

Munsell Crayola, 1926–1944

Three boxes of Munsell crayons; the first from the Munsell Color Company, and the others from Binney & Smith.

In 1926, Binney & Smith acquired the Munsell Color Company's line of crayons, based on the Munsell color system developed by Albert Henry Munsell. This marked the first time that Crayola crayons incorporated the concept of the color wheel. The Munsell color wheel consisted of five "principal hues" (red, yellow, green, blue, and purple), and five "intermediate hues" (yellow red, green yellow, blue green, blue purple, and red purple). Each color was available in either "maximum chroma" or with "middle value and middle chroma." Three different packages were offered: a box of seven containing the five principal hues at maximum chroma plus Middle Gray and Black,[lower-alpha 8] a box of twelve containing the five principal hues, both at maximum chroma and at middle value and chroma, plus Middle Gray and Black, and a box of twenty-two, containing both the principal and intermediate hues, each at maximum chroma as well as with middle value and chroma, plus Middle Gray and Black.[7]

The Munsell color wheel prompted Binney & Smith to adopt a similar color wheel concept for Crayola crayons in 1930, using six principal hues (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet) and six intermediate hues (red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet), for a twelve-color wheel. These were combined with Black, Neutral Gray, White, and Brown to produce a sixteen-color box. Munsell Crayola boxes were discontinued in 1935, although the crayons were produced in specially-marked Crayola boxes until 1944, when wartime shortages made many of the pigments necessary for crayon production unavailable. Munsell crayons were not produced again after the war, but the concept of the color wheel pioneered by Munsell remained a fundamental part of the Crayola lineup until 1990.[7]

The Munsell colors are depicted in the table below.

Color[lower-alpha 3] Name Hexadecimal[lower-alpha 4] Notes[lower-alpha 5]
  Maximum Red #D92121
  Middle Red #E58E73
  Middle Yellow Red #ECB176 Same color as "Medium Orange" (1949–1958).
  Maximum Yellow Red #F2BA49
  Middle Yellow #FFEB00
  Maximum Yellow #FAFA37
  Maximum Green Yellow #D9E650
  Middle Green Yellow #ACBF60
  Maximum Green #5E8C31
  Middle Green #4D8C57
  Middle Blue Green #8DD9CC
  Maximum Blue Green #30BFBF
  Middle Blue #7ED4E6
  Maximum Blue #47ABCC
  Maximum Blue Purple #ACACE6
  Middle Blue Purple #8B72BE
  Maximum Purple #733380
  Middle Purple #D982B5
  Maximum Red Purple #A63A79
  Middle Red Purple #A55353
  Middle Grey #8B8680 Spelled "Grey" on labels, but "Gray" on boxes. Same color as "Neutral Grey" (1930–1956), "Gray" (1956–present).
 000000 Black #000000 References to "Maximum Black" are erroneous.

Changes through 1949

The Crayola No. 48, introduced in 1949. Note both the "Rubens" and "Gold Medal" emblems.

From 1930 to 1935, Binney & Smith refined the Crayola line-up, discontinuing some colors, adjusting others, and incorporating the Munsell colors into its regular line. In 1939, the company introduced the No. 52 assortment, containing fifty-two colors, including all of the Munsell colors and all but six of the other crayons then being produced. Although it was by far the largest Crayola assortment yet offered, the No. 52 received little publicity, and was only produced for about five years; in 1944, wartime shortages made the pigments necessary to produce many colors unavailable.[7]

When full production was resumed in 1949, Binney & Smith eliminated most of the Munsell colors and their significant overlap with other hues. The new lineup was based around the twelve-color Crayola color wheel, first developed in the 1930s. While new crayons were added to the assortment, the overall number of colors dropped to forty-eight, and the No. 52 box was formally discontinued in favor of the new No. 48 assortment, containing all of the colors then being produced.[7]

While many older crayons were eliminated from the Crayola line, several new colors representing light, medium, and dark shades of the principal and intermediate hues were added, to create the most systematic assortment yet produced. For ten years, the No. 48 box was Crayola's largest collection, and for decades afterward, it remained an integral part of the line.

Color[lower-alpha 3] Name Hexadecimal[lower-alpha 4] Notes[lower-alpha 5]
  Red #ED0A3F
  Dark Red #8B0000 Same color as "Maroon" (1958–present).
  Indian Red #CD5C5C Same color as "Chestnut" (1999–present).
  Red-Orange #FF4500
  Orange #FF8833
  Medium Orange #ECB176 Same color as "Middle Yellow Red" (1926–1949).
  Yellow-Orange #FFAE42
  Gold Ochre Same color as "Maize" (1958–1990).
  Medium Yellow #FCD667 Same color as "Medium Chrome Yellow" (1903–1910) and "Goldenrod" (1958–present).
  Yellow #FFFF00
  Olive Green #B5B35C
  Light Yellow #FFFFE0 Same color as "Lemon Yellow" (1903–1910, 1958–1990).
  Yellow-Green #9ACD32
  Dark Green #013220 Same color as "Forest Green" (1958–present).
  Light Green #90EE90 Same color as "Sea Green" (1958–present).
  Green #01A368
  Light Turquoise Blue [lower-alpha 9] Same color as "Aquamarine" (1958–present).
  Turquoise Blue #00FFEF
  Middle Blue-Green #0095B7 Same color as "Blue-Green" (1958–present).
  Blue-Green #0D98BA Same color as "Maximum Blue" (1926–1949)
  Azure Blue #4997D0 Same color as "Blue" (1903–1935) and "Celestial Blue" (1930–1949).
  Cerulean Blue #2A52BE
  Prussian Blue #003153 Same color as "Midnight Blue" (1958–present).
  Blue #0066FF
  Medium Blue #0000CD Same color as "Blue" (1935–1949).
  Cobalt Blue #0047AB
  Blue-Violet #8A2BE2 Same color as "Violet-Blue" (1958–1990).
  Violet #7F00FF Same color as "Blue-Violet" (1958–present).
  Medium Violet #65315F
  Lavender #B57EDC
  Brilliant Rose
  Medium Red-Violet #BB3385 Same color as "Orchid" (1958–present).
  Medium Rose
  Light Magenta #FF80FF Same color as "Thistle" (1958–1999).
  Red-Violet #C71585
  Magenta #FF00FF Same color as "Permanent Magenta" (1903–1914).
  Rose Pink #FF66CC Same color as "Carnation Pink" (1958–present).
  Carmine Red #FF0038 Same color as "Carmine" (1935–1949).
  Salmon #FA8072
  Mahogany #C04000
  Burnt Sienna #E97451
  Brown #964B00
  Flesh #FFCBA4 Same color as "Flesh Tint" (1903–1949), "Pink Beige" (1956–1958), and Peach (1962–present).
  Raw Umber #826644
  Silver #AAA9AD Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only.
  Black #000000
  Neutral Gray #8B8680 Same color as "Middle Grey" (1926–1949), "Gray" (1956–present).
  White #FFFFFF

Crayola No. 64

Crayola No. 64, introduced in 1958.

Introduced in 1958, the Crayola No. 64 was Binney & Smith's largest regular assortment for more than thirty years, and featured the last major changes to Crayola colors before 1990.[lower-alpha 10] The iconic flip-top box arranged sixty-four crayons in four rows of sixteen, progressively raised to allow for easier access, and a crayon sharpener built into the back of the box.[7]

Although a few of the colors from the No. 48 box were discontinued at this time, most were retained, sometimes with different names, and several new crayons were added to the assortment, including six new "intermediate" hues, as the Crayola color wheel expanded from twelve to eighteen colors.[7]

Color[lower-alpha 3] Name Hexadecimal[lower-alpha 4] Notes[lower-alpha 5]
  Red #ED0A3F
  Maroon #C32148 Same color as "Dark Red" (1949–1958)
  Brick Red #CB4154
  Indian Red #CD5C5C Same color as "Chestnut" (1999–present).
  Orange-Red #FF681F One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  Bittersweet #FE6F5E
  Burnt Orange #CC5500
  Red-Orange #FF4500
  Orange #FF8833
  Yellow-Orange #FFAE42
  Maize #F2C649 Same color as "Gold Ochre" (1903–1958). One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  Orange-Yellow #F5BD1F One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  Goldenrod #DAA520 Same color as "Medium Chrome Yellow" (1903–1910) and "Medium Yellow" (1903–1958).
  Yellow #FFFF00
  Green-Yellow #F1E788
  Spring Green #ECEBBD
  Olive Green #B5B35C
  Lemon Yellow #FFF44F Same color as "Light Yellow" (1903–1958). One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  Yellow-Green #9ACD32
  Forest Green #228B22 Same color as "Dark Green" (1949–1958).
  Sea Green #2E8B57 Same color as "Light Green" (1949–1958).
  Green #008001
  Pine Green #01796F Same color as "Dark Chrome Green" (1903–1910) and "Dark Green" (1903–1949).
  Light Blue # ADD8E6 Discontinued in 1958; replaced by Turquoise Blue.
  Aquamarine Same color as "Light Turquoise Blue" (1949–1958).
  Sky Blue #76D7EA
  Blue-Green #0095B7 Same color as "Middle Blue Green" (1949–1958).
  Cornflower #93CCEA
  Green-Blue One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  Navy Blue #0066CC
  Midnight Blue Same color as "Prussian Blue" (1903–1958).
  Blue #0066FF
  Cadet Blue #A9B2C3
  Periwinkle #C3CDE6
  Violet-Blue #766EC8 Same color as Blue-Violet (1930–1958). One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  Blue-Violet #6456B7 Same color as "Violet" (1949–1958).
  Violet #8359A3 On labels "Violet (Purple)".
  Brilliant Rose Discontinued in 1958; replaced by Magenta.
  Plum #8E3179
  Orchid #E29CD2 Same color as "Medium Red-Violet" (1949–1958).
  Thistle Same color as "Light Magenta" (1949–1958). "Retired" in 1999.
  Mulberry "Retired" in 2003.
  Red-Violet #BB3385
  Lavender #FBAED2
  Carnation Pink #FFA6C9 Same color as "Rose Pink" (1903–1958).
  Violet-Red #F7468A
  Salmon #FF91A4
  Mahogany #CA3435
  Melon #FEBAAD
  Burnt Sienna #E97451
  Brown #AF593E
  Sepia #9E5B40
  Raw Sienna #D27D46
  Tan [lower-alpha 11]
  Peach #FFCBA4 Same color as "Flesh Tint" (1903–1949), "Flesh" (1949–1956, 1958–1962), and "Pink Beige" (1956–1958).
  Apricot #FDD5B1
  Raw Umber #826644 One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  Gold #A57C00 Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only.
  Silver #AAA9AD Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only.
  Copper #B87333 Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only.
  Black #000000
  Gray #8B8680 Same color as "Neutral Gray" (1926–1956).
  Blue-Gray #6699CC One of eight colors "retired" in 1990.
  White #FFFFFF

Changes 1958–1990

The first changes to the No. 64 box were made in its first year of production, as Light Blue and Brilliant Rose were replaced by Turquoise Blue and Magenta. From then to 1990, no colors were replaced, although, in 1963, Flesh was formally renamed Peach, partially in response to the civil rights movement, the company said.[9][10] Flesh had been known as Flesh Tint until 1949, and was called Pink Beige from 1956 to 1958.[7] In 1962, the flesh-colored crayon was not featured in the commemorative box because Crayola felt it was insensitive. They recognized that not all skin tones are the same.

The 1970s saw the introduction of Crayola's first specialty crayons, eight fluorescent colors designed to glow under black light. These were never added to the No. 64 box, but were available separately or in a special box of 72 crayons, typically packaged with activity books or crayon stands. Fabric crayons were introduced in 1980, as the Crayola brand continued to expand beyond regular drawing crayons. Colored pencils and markers followed.[7]

1990 – present

Thirteen out of fourteen colors "retired" since 1990: Lemon Yellow, Violet Blue, Blue Gray, Orange Red, Maize, Raw Umber, Orange Yellow, Green Blue, Blizzard Blue, Magic Mint, Mulberry, Teal Blue, and Thistle.

1990 saw the first major changes to Crayola drawing crayons in more than thirty years, as eight colors were "retired into the Crayon Hall of Fame," and eight new colors were introduced, followed by sixteen more in 1993, and twenty-four more in 1998. Five colors were replaced between 2000 and 2003.[11]

The first major change was the replacement of eight colors that had long been part of the Crayola lineup. These were: Orange-Red (first produced in 1958), Maize (formerly Gold Ochre, produced since 1903), Orange-Yellow (1958), Lemon Yellow (formerly Light Yellow, produced since 1903), Green-Blue (1958), Violet-Blue (produced as Blue-Violet from 1930 to 1958), Raw Umber (1903), and Blue-Gray (1958).[lower-alpha 12] With the loss of Orange-Red, Orange-Yellow, Green-Blue, and Violet-Blue, the Crayola color wheel was reduced from eighteen to fourteen colors, with six "principal hues" and eight "intermediate" hues. The eight new colors were: Vivid Tangerine, Dandelion (later retired in 2017), Jungle Green, Teal Blue (later retired in 2003), Cerulean, Royal Purple, Fuchsia, and Wild Strawberry.[7]

Late in 1992, Binney & Smith introduced the Crayola No. 96 Big Box, containing the sixty-four existing colors, as well as sixteen fluorescent crayons, and sixteen unnamed colors, the names of which were to be chosen in a nationwide contest. The winners were announced the following year, and included: Macaroni and Cheese, Asparagus, Granny Smith Apple, Shamrock, Tropical Rain Forest, Robin's Egg Blue, Pacific Blue, Denim, Purple Mountains' Majesty, Wisteria, Cerise, Razzmatazz, Tickle Me Pink, Mauvelous, Tumbleweed, and Timberwolf.[7]

In 1996, a special color called Blue Ribbon was produced to celebrate the production of one hundred billion Crayola crayons since 1903. Crayons of this color were included in "limited edition" versions of the No. 96 box produced early that year, but it did not become part of the regular assortment. The following year, four bright colors were introduced: Sunset Orange, Caribbean Green, Vivid Violet, and Pink Flamingo, which were then incorporated into the regular lineup. 1997 also saw a contest called to name eight new colors, incorporated into assortments the following year: Torch Red (later “Scarlet” in 1998), Banana Mania, Mountain Meadow, Outer Space, Purple Heart, Brink Pink (later “Pink Sherbet” in 2005), Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown, and Shadow.[7]

1998 saw the introduction of Crayola's first 120-count assortment. In addition to the existing colors, twelve more were added to the lineup in order to bring the count of regular and fluorescent crayons up to 120. These were: Canary, Fern, Manatee, Blue Bell, Eggplant, Cotton Candy, Cranberry (later “Blush” in 2005), Pig Pink, Beaver, Desert Sand, Almond, and Antique Brass, a metallic crayon. The same year, Torch Red became Scarlet.[7]

In 1999, Indian Red, part of the Crayola lineup since 1903, was renamed Chestnut, ostensibly because of confusion that children would assume that the color referred to the skin color of American Indians, rather than a reddish pigment from India. Thistle, originally produced as Light Magenta in 1949, was replaced by Indigo.[7]

To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of Crayola Crayons in 2003, a special 100-count box was created, adding four new colors to the existing 96-color box. As in 1992 and 1996, the names were chosen as part of a contest, and the four new crayons became part of the No. 96 box at the end of the anniversary year. The new colors were: Mango Tango, Inchworm, Wild Blue Yonder, and Jazzberry Jam. To make room for them, four other crayons were retired; two of the sixteen fluorescent colors (Magic Mint and Blizzard Blue), plus Mulberry (produced since 1958) and Teal Blue (introduced in 1990).[7] Crayola enthusiasts were given the opportunity to save one of five colors nominated for retirement via an internet poll: the winner was Burnt Sienna.[12][13]

Three colors received new names in 2005, as Brink Pink became Pink Sherbert [sic], Cranberry became Blush, and Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown was shortened to Fuzzy Wuzzy. Since these changes, the Crayola lineup has remained steady, with changes confined to specialty crayons.[7]

On March 31, 2017, Crayola announced it would retire Dandelion, to replace it with a blue color. A public vote was held, and on September 14, 2017, the new crayon color's name was announced as "Bluetiful".[14][15] The crayon color was included in the boxes for sale starting in late January 2018.

In 2021, four new colors were introduced: "Crayellow", "Powder Blue", "Cool Mint", and "Oatmeal".[16]

The following table includes all of the standard colors introduced since 1990.

Color Name Hexadecimal in their website depiction [lower-alpha 4] Notes[lower-alpha 5]
  Scarlet #FD0E35 Introduced in 1998. Same color as "Torch Red" (1998).
  Sunset Orange #FE4C40 Introduced in 1997.
  Vivid Tangerine #FF9980 Introduced in 1990.
  Macaroni and Cheese #FFB97B Introduced in 1993. Also found as "Macaroni & Cheese" and "Macaroni-n-Cheese".
  Mango Tango #E77200 Introduced in 2003.
  Banana Mania #FBE7B2 Introduced in 1998.
  Dandelion #FED85D Produced 1990–2017.[14]
  Canary #FFFF99 Introduced in 1998.
  Inchworm #AFE313 Introduced in 2003.
  Asparagus #7BA05B Introduced in 1993.
  Granny Smith Apple #9DE093 Introduced in 1993.
  Fern #63B76C Introduced in 1998.
  Shamrock #33CC99 Introduced in 1993.
  Mountain Meadow #1AB385 Introduced in 1998.
  Jungle Green #29AB87 Introduced in 1990.
  Caribbean Green #00CC99 Introduced in 1997.
  Tropical Rain Forest #00755E Introduced in 1993.
  Robin's Egg Blue #00CCCC Introduced in 1993.
  Teal Blue #008080 Produced 1990–2003.
  Outer Space #2D383A Introduced in 1998.
  Pacific Blue #1CA9C9 Introduced in 1993.
  Cerulean #02A4D3 Introduced in 1990.
  Denim #1560BD Introduced in 1993.
  Bluetiful #3C69E7[15] Introduced in 2017.[15]
  Wild Blue Yonder #A2ADD0 Introduced in 2003.
  Indigo #4B0082 Introduced in 1999.
  Manatee #979AAA Introduced in 1998.
  Blue Bell #A2A2D0 Introduced in 1998.
  Purple Heart #69359C Introduced in 1998.
  Royal Purple #7851A9 Introduced in 1990.
  Wisteria #C9A0DC Introduced in 1993.
  Vivid Violet #9F00FF Introduced in 1997.
  Purple Mountains' Majesty #9678B6 Introduced in 1993. Also found as "Purple Mountain Majesty" and "Purple Mountain's Majesty."
  Fuchsia #C154C1 Introduced in 1990.
  Pink Flamingo #FC74FD[17] Introduced in 1997.
  Jazzberry Jam #A50B5E Introduced in 2003.
  Eggplant #614051 Introduced in 1998.
  Cerise #DE3163 Introduced in 1993.
  Wild Strawberry #FF43A4 Introduced in 1990.
  Cotton Candy #FFBCD9 Introduced in 1998.
  Razzmatazz #E3256B Introduced in 1993.
  Pig Pink #FDDDE6 Introduced in 1998. Also called "Piggy Pink."
  Blush #DE5D83 Same color as "Cranberry" (1998–2005).
  Tickle Me Pink #FC89AC Introduced in 1993.
  Mauvelous #EF98AA Introduced in 1993.
  Pink Sherbert #F78FA7 Same color as "Brink Pink" (1998–2005).
  Fuzzy Wuzzy #CC6666 Same color as "Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown" (1998–2005).
  Beaver #9F8170 Introduced in 1998.
  Tumbleweed #DEAA88 Introduced in 1993.
  Desert Sand #EDC9AF Introduced in 1998.
  Almond #EFDECD Introduced in 1998.
  Shadow #8A795D Introduced in 1998.
  Timberwolf #D9D6CF Introduced in 1993.
  Antique Brass #CD9575 Introduced in 1998. Metallic; swatch represents nominal hue only.

The Crayola color wheel

1926: 10 colors

The concept of the color wheel first became associated with Crayola crayons with Binney & Smith's acquisition of the Munsell line in 1926. Munsell's color system was based on five "principal hues" and five "intermediate hues," resulting in a color wheel of ten colors. The principal hues were red, yellow, green, blue, and purple; the intermediate hues were yellow red, green yellow, blue green, blue purple, and red purple. Each was available with either maximum chroma or with middle value and middle chroma. The following table depicts all of the principal and intermediate hues at maximum chroma.

Color Name
  Maximum Red
  Maximum Yellow Red
  Maximum Yellow
  Maximum Green Yellow
  Maximum Green
  Maximum Blue Green
  Maximum Blue
  Maximum Blue Purple
  Maximum Purple
  Maximum Red Purple

1930: 12 colors

In 1930, Binney & Smith adopted the concept of the color wheel into its own line, including orange as a principal hue, and basing the other hues on its existing colors rather than the Munsell version. This resulted in a twelve-color wheel that fit neatly into the regular Crayola lineup.

Color Name

Adjustments in 1935 and 1949

The only significant changes to the Crayola color wheel between 1930 and 1958 occurred in 1935, when the original blue was replaced with a darker hue, and 1949, when a new version of violet was introduced:

Color Name
  Blue (1903)
  Blue (1935)
  Violet (1930)
  Violet (1949)

1958: 18 colors

In 1958, Binney & Smith introduced the No. 64 box, with numerous changes to the existing palette, and a major revision of the color wheel, which expanded from twelve to eighteen colors. The six intermediate hues were doubled, so that there were now two intermediate hues between each of the principal hues. The 1935 blue was replaced with a more intense color, and a new, darker blue-green was substituted for the previous version; the 1930 version of violet returned, while the 1949 violet became blue-violet, and the original blue-violet became violet-blue. The 1958 color wheel remained a fixture of Crayola crayons until 1990, when four of the colors were discontinued: orange-red, orange-yellow, green-blue, and violet-blue. Without these colors, the Crayola color wheel includes fourteen colors; there are two hues between yellow and green, and two between violet and red, but only one between the other principal hues.

Color Name

See also


  1. This discrepancy may be due to the fact that several crayons were simply different shades of other colors; for example Chrome Green came in light, medium, and dark; in addition to Venetian Red there were Light and Dark Venetian Red; Chrome Yellow came in both light and dark varieties.
  2. Crayola No. 100 contained thirty crayons, but they were not labeled.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Due to several factors, the values given should only be considered approximations. The apparent color of any crayon depends on the thickness with which the wax is laid down, the color and brightness of the surface being colored, and other considerations, such as the age and quality of individual crayons. In addition, crayons are produced using pigments, which are normally described using subtractive colors, with the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue; but electronic displays produce colors using the additive method, combining the primary colors of red, green, and blue.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Unless otherwise indicated, the hex colors were found in the source code of the Crayola website.[8]
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Unless otherwise indicated, notes regarding color names and years of use in this table are sourced to "Alphabetical List of Crayon Colors" page at Ed Welter's website[6]
  6. Swatch matches the hue of "Laser Lemon" and "Unmellow Yellow."
  7. The digital swatch provided by Crayola gives the values 0, 51, 102, considerably darker than the actual crayon.
  8. Although sometimes identified as "Maximum Black," Munsell wrappers and boxes simply identify this crayon as "Black." Since Black is achromatic and has no intermediate grades, there could be no "Middle Black" or "Maximum Black."
  9. Crayola has digital swatches labeled "Aqua" and "Aqua Marine," but Aqua is much brighter and Aqua Marine much darker than Aquamarine, which should be a lighter version of Turquoise Blue.
  10. A seventy-two crayon box was also introduced about this time, but it contained no additional colors, instead including duplicates of the eight most-used crayons. In the 1970's, the duplicates were replaced by Crayola's first specialty crayons, eight fluorescent colors that would fluoresce under black light.
  11. The digital swatch provided by Crayola is 250, 157, 90. Although the correct hue, this color is much more intense than a tan crayon.
  12. The last versions of these crayons produced before they were discontinued spelled the names without hyphens.


  1. "The Colors of Childhood". Smithsonian Magazine. November 1999. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/object_nov99.html. 
  2. Welter, Ed (2020-08-07). "Crayola Product Line by Year | 1904". http://www.crayoncollecting.com/PL-1904.htm. "Apr 1904 – Binney & Smith wins a Gold Medal for their An-du-Septic dustless chalk in the St. Louis World’s Fair. It is this Medal that becomes the inspiration for their Gold Medal Line of crayon boxes." 
  3. Welter, Ed (2020-08-07). "Crayola Product Line by Year | 1905". http://www.crayoncollecting.com/PL-1905.htm. "1905 – Binney & Smith introduces their Gold Medal box of 8 crayons. This uses the Eagle side of their Gold Medal from the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Though originally on one box, this would later expand to the entire line" 
  4. Welter, Ed (2020-08-07). "Crayola Product Line by Year | 1903". http://www.crayoncollecting.com/PL-1903.htm. "June 1903 – Binney & Smith begins to sell Crayola and Rubens wax crayons. ... Replaced around 1910 with the Gold Medal line" 
  5. New York Teachers Monographs. 7 (No 1 ed.). New York, NY: American Book Company. Mar 1905. p. 125. https://books.google.com/books?id=0dxNAAAAMAAJ&q=Crayola&pg=RA1-PA125. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Welter, Ed (2021-11-12). "The Definitive History of the Colors of Crayola Reference – Alphabetical List of Crayon Colors". http://www.crayoncollecting.com/ccoloralpha.htm. 
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 Ed Welter, The Definitive History of the Colors of Crayola, CrayonCollecting.com.
  8. Crayola: Explore Colors, [1], retrieved 5 May 2015.
  9. "Crayola banned 'flesh,'" Corvallis Gazette Times, January 7, 1989, page 1
  10. "Crayola sees red over 'flesh-colored' crayons," The Courier-News, Bridgewater, New Jersey, March 15, 1989, page 2
  11. "Crayon & Color Info". Crayola LLC. http://www.crayola.com/about-us/crayon-chronology.aspx. 
  12. "Change of colors at Crayola, but voters save burnt sienna", USA Today, 11 Oct. 2003 (online, retrieved 10 Oct. 2016).
  13. http://www.crayola.com/faq/another-topic/what-are-the-names-of-the-retired-crayon-colors/
  14. 14.0 14.1 Crayola.com,"Crayola Announces the Retirement of Dandelion on National Crayon Day", retrieved 14 September 2017.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Crayola.com, "Meet Bluetiful", retrieved 14 September 2017.
  16. "NEW! Colors of Kindness". Crayola. https://www.crayola.com/-/media/Crayola/About-Us/Press-Center-Images/05_2022/Crayola-Colors-of-Kindness-Fact-Sheet-2022_FINAL.pdf. 
  17. "Custom Box Creator". SureSource LLC. from the web page source. http://www.crayolastore.com/custom_box.do.