Crayola did not invent the crayon. Records show that Europe was the birthplace of the "modern" crayon. The first crayons were made from a mixture of charcoal and oil. Later, powdered pigments of various hues replaced the charcoal. It was discovered that substituting wax for the oil in the mixture made the sticks sturdier and easier to handle.
Crayola Crayons were invented by Binney & Smith in 1902 and first offered for sale in 1903. Alice (Stead) Binney, a school teacher and wife of co-founder Edwin Binney, suggested the company manufacture an inexpensive alternative to imported crayons of that era. The trade name Crayola was coined by Mrs. Edwin Binney who joined the French word "craie," meaning stick of chalk and "ola" from the word "oleaginous," meaning oily. Crayola Crayons are made primarily from paraffin wax and color pigment. The Crayola brand celebrated its 100th anniversary during 2003 and today we manufacture over 3 billion crayons each year.