Crayons, the invention which made the world more colorful and fascinating for children actually started with a single color – black!

Edwin Binney and Harold Smith are known for the invention of crayons. These cousins from New York started a company named Binney & Smith. The original products of the company included red oxide pigment used in barn paint and carbon black used for car tires.

Binney and Smith started to make pencils and dustless chalk for teachers in 1900. It was in 1903 that they realized the potential for another form of writing material, when they were touring different schools to promote their products. This led to the invention of safe and non-toxic wax crayons which were affordable. The first crayon box included eight colors – black, brown, blue, red, green, orange, yellow and violet. The box cost a nickel.


Crayons were invented under the brand name ‘Crayola’. The name ‘Crayola’ was coined by Edwin Binney’s wife Alice from the words ‘craie’, the French word for chalk, and ‘ola’, from ‘oleaginous’.

Today, crayons form an essential part of a child’s early development.

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