Turquoise. Violet. Yellow. Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown. What do these words have in common?
In 1864, Joseph Binney lived in New York and founded a company that produced charcoal for lamps. About twenty years later, Joseph retired and his son and nephew joined forces to become Binney & Smith. They added red oxide (for barns) and carbon black (for car tires) to their products. In 1900, the company began producing slate pencils in response to requests from teachers. They also introduced the first dustless school chalk. Continuing their tradition of reaching out to teachers, the cousins began producing wax crayons, selling a box of eight for five cents.
Binney & Smith is the company name, but most people only think of Crayola or crayons when they see those boxes of multicolored wax sticks in the store today.
Binney & Smith truly has a colorful history. In 1903, they marketed only eight colors: Black, blue, brown, green, orange, red, violet, and yellow. By today’s standards, that doesn’t sound like much, but Binney & Smith have continued to invent new colors and products.
The 20s and 30s brought more products such as fine art paints and crayons that could be sharpened. Binney & Smith founded an institute in 1936, promoting safety of art-related materials. The company began training teachers about the many mew products they were producing.
These eight colors remained until 1949, when forty more colors were introduced on the market. Among them were Thistle, Magenta, Mahogany, and Carnation Pink.
Beginning in 1958 and continuing through 1971, there were a total of 64 colors available. To show our patriotic side, colors such as Cadet Blue and Navy Blue were introduced. In 1958, the first crayon box with a built-in sharpener came on the market, becoming an instant hit with children and parents.
In 1972, Binney & Smith added a fluorescent side to their colors, introducing Chartreuse, Hot Magenta, and several colors beginning with Ultra. In 1990, several of the names were changed. Although Hot Magenta stayed the same, names such as Atomic Tangerine and Screamin’ Green arrived on the scene. Also in 1990, several color names were retired and replaced with more modernistic colors. No longer could we find Raw Umber and Orange Yellow; now we can pick Dandelion and Cerulean to color inside and outside the lines.
One might wonder what Cerulean looks like. According to Crayola, it’s a shade of blue and was introduced in 1990 in the box of 64.
Nineteen ninety-three brought a new era to Crayola, for that was the year that consumers helped pick the names of new colors. We picked such names as Timber Wolf, Granny Smith Apple, and Tickle Me Pink.
Twenty-four new colors were added in 1998, making 120 the available color choices. Again keeping up with the times, we now saw Banana Mania, Cotton Candy, and Fuzzy Wuzzy Brown.
The year 2000 brought only one new color when Thistle was replaced by indigo. Blue was voted the most popular color by over 25,000 Crayola fans.
During 2003, four new colors were added and four were retired, keeping the current number of colors at 120. The names Inch Worm, Jazzberry Jam, and Mango Tango reflect the current trend of society.
Today, Binney & Smith’s color list includes Atomic Tangerine, Beaver, Macaroni and Cheese, Mauvelous, and Outer Space. Definitions of the colors are available. For example, Neon Carrot’s personality traits include warm, sociable, and glowing. It was first introduced in 1990 into the Fluorescent 16 box of Crayolas.
Binney & Smith continues to be innovative in their creativity, delving into markets such as washable markers, sidewalk chalk and spray, twistable crayons, and Silly-Putty.
An interesting fact gleaned from Binney & Smith’s web site states that nearly three billion crayons are produced each year, which would encircle the earth six times. Now that’s a lot of color.
Considering that God gave human eyes the ability to distinguish over 7,000,000 colors, Binney and Smith will be in business for a long time.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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