Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith introduced their waxy wonders for the first time in 1903. Since then the crayons have changed along with the times.
Since the conception of Crayola Crayons in the early 20th century the colors of these wax creations has changed along with the times. Binney and Smith first created their company as an industrial supply manufacturer of pigments before shifting gears toward school supplies such as crayons and colored pencils. Later on in their history Crayola invented the first powderless chalk, an invention they won a gold medal at the St. Louis Worlds Fair for. Here are four times in the history of Crayola when the company was forced to change its colors. Or change its names of those colors.
“Indian Red” Colored Crayon
Introduced in the mid-1950s with another 14 colors to go along with it (making a whopping 64 total at that time) Indian Red was a nod to a shade of red dye found primarily in the country of India and in the subcontinent. American teachers though, thought the name was a reference, or at least could be construed as a reference, to the skin color of Native Americans. Crayola changed the name to Chestnut to avoid any legal issues and Indian Red was no more.
“Flesh” Colored Crayon
This one may be a little more understandable. While everyone agrees that the civil rights movement made huge strides in American culture, little is known that during this time the civil rights movement made strides in the crayon industry as well. In 1962 Crayola voluntarily changed its Flesh colored crayon to Peach in an attempt to avoid legal setbacks. Black and White may have been too much of a staple to change though, as those have stood the test of time.
“Prussian Blue” Colored Crayon
Everyone knows the state of America during the Cold War, but few know just how paranoid some were getting. First, some history: The Kingdom of Prussia was an independent state from 1701 to 1871 and occupied much of modern-day Germany and Poland. In 1949 Crayola introduced the color along with 39 others. Teachers continued to voice concerns that the crayon wasn’t “Cold War sensitive” and in no time the name was changed to “Midnight Blue.”
Crayola Changes its Lineup
A more recent change occurred in 1990 with the overhauling of some of Crayola’s lineup. Eight colors were changed including Blue Gray, Green Blue, Lemon Yellow, Maize, Orange Red, Orange Yellow, Raw Umber and Violet Blue. New generation colors included Dandelion, Fuchsia and Cerulean.
Regardless of why or if Crayola changes its colors on their crayons, the creator of these wonderful waxes will no doubt be around for years to come as an integral part of any developing child’s life and as an innovator of new and better school supplies for the world.