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Did You Know Crayons Were Originally Used By...

"Hey, coloring lovers! Did you know crayons were originally used by artists to create their masterpieces?"

Coloring Crayons Artists

How Were Crayons Invented?

The Evolution of Coloring Tools

From early cave paintings to modern coloring books, humans have always had a deep desire to express themselves through art. Throughout history, various tools have been developed to aid in this expression. Early humans used materials like ground up charcoal and plant pigments to create simple drawings on cave walls. As civilization progressed, so did our materials. In ancient Egypt, for example, people used materials like papyrus and reed pens to create intricate hieroglyphics.

By the Renaissance, artists were using advanced materials like paintbrushes and oil paints to create masterpieces that still captivate us today. These materials, however, were expensive and often difficult to work with, making them inaccessible to many people.

Wax and Pigments Come Together

In the 19th century, things began to change. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, new materials and manufacturing processes became available. One of these materials was paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum refining. At first, paraffin wax didn't have much use, but that changed when an enterprising artist named Edwin Binney discovered its potential for creating a new type of drawing tool.

At the time, artists typically used charcoal or oil pastels to create their drawings. These materials were messy and often difficult to work with, particularly for children. But Binney saw an opportunity to create a new type of drawing tool that would be easier to use and more accessible to everyone.

Binney experimented with various combinations of wax and pigments until he finally hit upon the perfect formula: paraffin wax, mixed with powdered pigments, could be molded into a stick that was both durable and easy to color with. He called this new invention a "crayon" and began to market it to schools and other institutions.

The Crayola Era

Binney's invention was an instant hit, and soon he was producing crayons in a wide range of colors. In 1903, Binney partnered with his cousin, C. Harold Smith, to establish the Binney & Smith Company. They called their new product "Crayola," a combination of the words "craie" (French for "chalk") and "ola" (short for "oleaginous," or oily).

Over the next several decades, Crayola crayons became a ubiquitous name in households across America. They were affordable, durable, and came in a rainbow of colors. Children could use them to draw, color, and express themselves in ways that were previously impossible.

Today, Crayola is still one of the most recognizable and beloved brands in the world. Though the company has expanded into other areas such as markers, colored pencils, and modeling clay, the original crayon remains its signature product. It's a testament to the enduring power and importance of creative expression, and the tools that enable it.

Crayon Fun Facts

Crayons have been a staple in households and schools for over a century. Here are some fun facts you may not have known about crayons:

  • The word 'crayon' came from the French word 'craie' which means chalk.
  • The first crayons were made from a mixture of charcoal and oil.
  • America's most beloved crayon brand, Crayola, was initially called Binney & Smith Co. and produced industrial pigments before focusing on crayons.
  • There are over 120 colors in Crayola's color wheel.
  • The average child in America will wear down 720 crayons by the age of ten.

Crayola's Most Popular Colors

When it comes to choosing which colors to include in a box of crayons, Crayola takes into account a variety of factors. They consider what is popular in the current market, which colors are most used in schools, and which colors have timeless appeal. Here are some of Crayola's most popular colors:

  • Red
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Purple
  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Brown
  • Black
  • White

Crayola also releases limited edition boxes with unique color combinations depending on the season or trends.

Crayon in Pop Culture

Crayons have played a significant role in popular culture for many years. Here are some examples of how crayons have been used in art and advertising:

  • The 'Coloring Book' trend of the 2010s saw many coloring books aimed at adults, with intricate designs intended for stress relief. These books often come with a set of colored pencils or crayons.
  • Crayola's advertising campaign featuring the slogan "True to life" showcased the vivid and realistic colors of their crayons in a series of visually stunning advertisements.
  • Pablo Picasso created a series of lithographed drawings featuring a statuette and a woman, using crayons to create bold and colorful lines.
  • The "Harmony" ad campaign by Sony Bravia featured over 250,000 colored balls rolling down a San Francisco street, creating a mesmerizing and colorful spectacle.

In addition to their role in advertising, crayons also play a significant role in popular children's media. Here are some examples:

  • In the popular children's book series "Harold and the Purple Crayon", young Harold uses his magical purple crayon to create a world of his own.
  • The 2015 Pixar film "Inside Out" features a scene in which the character Joy uses a handful of discarded crayons to create a makeshift bridge, demonstrating the power of imagination even in dire situations.
  • In the popular children's show "Blue's Clues", one of the main characters, Blue, leaves paw prints made of blue crayon as clues for the show's host and the audience to follow.

The World's Largest Crayon

The Guinness World Record for the largest crayon is held by Crayola and weighs over 1500 pounds and is 15 feet long. It was created in 2003 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Crayola crayons. To create the crayon, Crayola melted down thousands of blue crayons and poured the wax into a specially made mold. The crayon currently resides at the Crayola Experience in Easton, Pennsylvania, and visitors can see it up close and even take pictures with it.

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