We are flattered you are interested in learning about Crayola!
The company began as Binney & Smith when cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith took over the pigment business owned by Edwin's father. Early products included red oxide pigment used in barn paint, carbon black for car tires, slate pencils, and "dustless" chalk. After noticing a need for safe, high quality, affordable wax crayons, Crayola produced the first box of eight crayons in 1903 and sold them for 5 cents.
The trade name Crayola was coined by Mrs. Edwin Binney. She joined the French word "craie", meaning chalk and "ola" from the word "oleaginous", meaning oily. The first box of crayon colors consisted of red, yellow, blue, green, orange, violet (purple), brown and black.
To learn more, check out the below sites that Crayola maintains. Be sure and visit these for a variety of information about our company and its products:
We also offer a photocopied booklet titled "Story of a Rainbow", which contains detailed early history. To receive a copy in the postal mail, please call (800) 272-9652 weekdays between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM Eastern time.
"Edwin Binney: The Founder of Crayola Crayons" is part of the Lives and Times Series, published by Heinemann-Raintree. The book offers history behind the founding of Binney & Smith and can be purchased through Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com.