Crayola LLC, formerly Binney & Smith Company, is an American handicraft company, specializing in art supplies. It is known for its brand Crayola and best known for its crayons. The company is based in Forks Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, USA. Since 1984, it has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards.[3] Originally an industrial pigment supply company, Crayola soon shifted its focus to art products for home and school use, beginning with chalk, then crayons, followed later by colored pencils, markers, paints, modeling clay, and other related goods. All Crayola-branded products are marketed as nontoxic and safe for use by children. Most Crayola crayons are manufactured in the United States.[4]

Crayola LLC
Binney & Smith Company (1885–2007)
Founded1885; 135 years ago (1885) (as Binney & Smith Company)
FounderEdwin Binney and C. Harold Smith
United States
Number of locations
Area served
Key people
  • Chalk
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
Number of employees
2,000 (2018)[2]

The company also produces Silly Putty and a line of professional art products under the Portfolio Series brand.

Crayola, LLC claims the Crayola brand has 99% name recognition in U.S. consumer households, and says its products are marketed and sold in over 80 countries.[5]


Crayola's founders Edwin Binney (left) and C. Harold Smith (right)

The company was founded as Binney and Smith by cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith in New York City in 1885. Initial products were colorants for industrial use, including red iron oxide pigments used in barn paint and carbon black chemicals used for making tires black and extending their useful lifespan.[6] Binney & Smith's new process of creating inexpensive black colorants was entered into the chemistry industries competition at the 1900 Paris Exposition under the title "carbon gas blacks, lamp or oil blacks, 'Peerless' black" and earned the company a gold medal award in chemical and pharmaceutical arts.[7][8] Also in 1900, the company added production of slate school pencils. Binney's experimentation with industrial materials, including slate waste, cement, and talc, led to the invention of the first dustless white chalk, for which the company won a gold medal at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.[8]

Initially formed as a partnership, Binney & Smith incorporated in 1902, and in that year Binney & Smith developed and introduced the Staonal marking crayon. Then Edwin Binney, working with his wife, Alice Stead Binney, developed his own famous product line of wax crayons beginning on 10 June 1903,[9] which it sold under the brand name Crayola. The Crayola name was coined by Alice Binney who was a former schoolteacher. It comes from craie (French for "chalk") and ola for "oleaginous" or "oily."[8][10] The suffix "-ola" was also popular in commercial use at the time, lending itself to products such as granola (1886),[11] pianola (1901),[12] Victrola (1905),[13] Shinola (1907)[14] and Mazola (1911).[15] Crayola introduced its crayons not with one box, but with a full product line. By 1905, the line had expanded to offering 18 different-sized crayon boxes[16] with five different-sized crayons, only two of which survive today—the "standard size" (a standard sized Crayola crayon is 3 58 in × 516 in (92.1 mm × 7.9 mm)) and the "large size" (large sized Crayola crayons are 4 in × 716 in (102 mm × 11 mm)). The product line offered crayon boxes containing 6, 7, 8, 12, 14, 16, 18, 24, 28, or 30 different color crayons. Some of these boxes were targeted for artists and contained crayons with no wrappers, while others had a color number printed on the wrapper that corresponded to a number on a list of color names printed inside the box lid, but some boxes contained crayons with their color names printed on their wrappers.

The Rubens Crayola line, started in 1903 (not in the 1920s, as claimed by some sources[by whom?]),[17] was directly targeted at artists and designed to compete with the Raphael brand of crayons from Europe. The crayon boxes sold from five cents for a No.6 Rubens box containing six different-colored crayons to $1.50 for the No. 500 Rubens Special Artists and Designers Crayon box containing 24 different-colored, larger (4 14 in × 12 in (108 mm × 13 mm)) crayons.[18]

In April 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair, Binney & Smith won the Gold Medal for their An-Du-Septic dustless chalk.[19] Subsequently, Crayola used the opportunity to develop a new packaging strategy by emphasizing their gold medal on the front of many of their products and crayon boxes. This strategy turned out to be so successful and recognizable to their brand that they phased out nearly all of their other Crayola line box designs to adapt to the gold medal format, which appeared on their packaging for the next 50-plus years.

In 1905, the prototype offering of their new No. 8 crayon box (with eight crayons) featured a copy from the side of the medal with an eagle on it. This was changed to the other side of the medal with the 1904 date on it in Roman numerals.

Binney & Smith purchased the Munsell Color Company crayon product line in 1926, and inherited 22 new colors, 11 in the maximum and 11 in the middle hue ranges.[20][21] They retained the Munsell name on products such as “Munsell-Crayola” and “Munsell-Perma” until 1934, and then incorporated their colors into their own Crayola Gold Medal line of boxes.[22]

In 1939, Crayola, by combining its existing crayon colors with the Munsell colors, introduced its largest color assortment product to date; a "No. 52 Drawing Crayon 52 Color Assortment", which was retired by the 1944 price list.

In 1949, Crayola introduced the "Crayola No. 48" containing 48 color crayons in a non-peggable floor box.

Further expansion took place in 1958 with the introduction of the 64-color pack that included the company's first crayon sharpener built into the box.[23] The 64-color box was called "a watershed" moment in the history of the Crayola crayon by Smithsonian National Museum of American History curator David Shayt.[24][25]

The corporation became a publicly traded company under the symbol BYS on the American Stock Exchange in 1963, and later moved to the New York Stock Exchange under the same symbol in 1978.[6]

In 1977, Binney & Smith acquired the rights to Silly Putty, a stretchy bouncy toy.[26] Crayola markers were introduced in 1978 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Crayola crayons. In 1984, the company was acquired by Hallmark Cards, a privately held corporation. Colored pencils and a line of washable markers were added in 1987.[6]

In August 1997, Crayola collaborated with Alliance Atlantis and the entertainment arm of Hallmark Cards to release three direct-to-video adaptations of famous children's novels under the name Crayola Kids Adventures.

Crayola Crayons were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York, in 1998. On January 1, 2007, Binney & Smith formed Crayola LLC, to reflect the company's number one brand.[1][5]

In 2011, My First Crayola was launched. Products include triangular crayons and flat-tipped markers.

In 2015, Crayola announced "Color Escapes" for adults to help them relieve stress. The kit will include four collections, such as geometric, garden, natural, and kaleidoscope.[27]


Crayola crayon packs vary in package counts of just a few crayons sold to establishments such as hotels and restaurants, to hand out to their young guests,[28] to 832-crayon "Classpack" bulk boxes marketed to schools.[29] The colors contained in a package have ranged from two to 200 (although a 200-color package includes "special effect" crayons such as glitters, neons, etc.). The most common retail packages are multiples of eight, with 4, 8, 16, 24, 48, 64, 96, and 120 packs being marketed today.[30][31][32] A 150-crayon pack featuring a plastic telescope-like case was introduced in 2006, and includes 118 regular color crayons, 16 glitter crayons, and 16 "Metallic FX" crayons, as well as a built-in sharpener at the apex of the tower.[33] This was succeeded by a 152-crayon set in a plastic yellow carrying case in 2013, with all the colors from the 150-crayon set plus the standard colors Piggy Pink and Blue Bell.


Thirteen of 50 officially retired Crayola crayon colors

As the size of Crayola crayon packs increased from the original 1903 crayon packs, the variety of colors available has also increased—reaching 120 colors by 1998. Since 1998, new colors have been added, but always replacing existing colors. In all, 50 colors have been retired, bringing the total number of regular colors produced to 170. On March 31, 2017, Crayola announced that Dandelion would be retired. On September 14, 2017, the replacement color "Bluetiful" was announced.[34] The color is reportedly a new hue realized after experiments done at Oregon State University. It was discovered while scientists were experimenting with electronics.[35]

According to Crayola, they currently manufacture 120 standard crayon colors[36] being included in the regular 120-count box. This does not include specialty crayons like the Metallic FX, Gel FX and the glitter crayons, but Fluorescent crayons.

The colors in the box below come in the packs of 8, 16, and 24:

8 pack (as of 1903) +8 = 16 pack (as of 1930) +8 = 24 pack (until October 2017)
Carnation Pink
Red Orange
Violet Red
Yellow Orange
Yellow Green
Green Yellow
Violet (Purple)
Blue Green
Blue Violet
Red Violet


In 2020, Crayola introduced a new line of 24 colors named "Colors of the World" to reflect nearly 40 skin tones of people around the world. The box of these crayons will include a gradient skin tone label and for the first time color names will be written in French, English, and Spanish.[37]

Cultural impactEdit

The Smithsonian National Museum of American History maintains a collection of Crayola crayons founded by an original 64-color box donated by Binney & Smith in 1998. The collection now includes more than 300 boxes of crayons.[24]

The Crayola crayon was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame as a founding member at its inception.

Crayola has been featured in segments from the popular children's shows Sesame Street[38] and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, with the official 100 billionth crayon molded by Fred Rogers himself in February 1996 at the plant in Easton.[39]

Commemorative postage stampEdit

1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayons

In 1998, the United States Postal Service issued a 32-cent postage stamp to commemorate the cultural impact the product has had on almost all Americans.[40]

The stamp is part of the 1900s decade sheet of the Celebrate the Century souvenir sheet series, and was designed by Carl Herrman, illustrated by Richard Waldrep and printed by Ashton-Potter USA using the offset/intaglio process.[41]

Crayola color census 2000Edit

In 2000, Crayola held the "Crayola Color Census 2000" promotion in which Americans were asked to vote for their favorite Crayola crayon color. Celebrity entrants George W. Bush chose "Blue Bell", Tiger Woods chose "Wild Strawberry", and Courteney Cox chose "Red".[42] Overall, "Blue" came in first, with "Cerulean" second and "Purple Heart" third.[43]

Crayola ExperienceEdit

Originally opening as the Crayola Factory, the Crayola Experience is located at 30 Centre Square, Easton, Pennsylvania, at Two Rivers Landing,[44] separate from the main manufacturing plant in Forks Township, Pennsylvania. Open to the public, the Crayola Experience is a museum and visitor center geared toward familiarizing guests with Crayola's history and products.[45]

Crayola Experience in downtown Easton, Pennsylvania

A "discovery center" was built that showcases the manufacturing process of crayons. There is also a "Crayola Hall of Fame" in which the retired crayon colors are displayed.[46]

The "world's largest crayon" was made from 123,000 used or broken blue crayons donated by people from around the world. This became the record holder until 2017, when Crayola made a larger crayon using the new color "bluetiful".[47]

The Crayola Experience was featured in a Food Network episode of Dinner: Impossible. A dinner was held for 150 employees of the Crayola Experience to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 64-box of crayons. Chef Michael Symon's mission was to create an eight-course tasting menu for this event, where all eight items of the menu had to match eight randomly chosen Crayola crayon colors.[48]

In October 2003, the Experience unveiled "The World's Largest Crayon", a 15-foot-long crayon weighing 1,500 lb, as part of its celebration of 100 years of Crayola crayons. The giant crayon, 16 inches in diameter, is blue, and was made of leftover crayon bits sent in by children across the United States.[49]

It opened its second location in The Florida Mall, Orlando, Florida, in 2015, its third location in Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota, in 2016, its fourth location in The Shops at Willow Bend, Plano, Texas, in 2018 and its latest location in Chandler Fashion Center, Chandler, Arizona, in May 2019.

Fine artEdit

Although marketed to children and amateur artists, several professional artists have specialized in using Crayola crayons as their primary medium. Don Marco, who works with Crayola crayons and construction paper, is one of the better known crayon artists—having sold over one million prints of his original artworks.[50]

Other productsEdit

A selection of Crayola products for sale at a New York art supply store

Crayola LLC produces a broad range of products other than their famous crayons under the Crayola brand name. These include colored pencils, markers, inks and paints, modeling clays, coloring books, and artists' tools. As with all Crayola products, these are all marketed as non-toxic and safe for use by children.[51]

Other brandsEdit

Silly PuttyEdit

Silly Putty is a silicone polymer children's toy used for various purposes. Silly Putty was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2001.

Portfolio SeriesEdit

The Portfolio Series is a line of water-soluble oil pastels, watercolors, drawing pencils, colored pencils, and acrylic paints marketed to artists and educators.[52]


Binney & Smith acquired the Liquitex corporation, a producer of fine art supply products, in 1964, but sold it to the Colart company in 2000.[53]


Marketed as a general (non-coloring)-use crayon for industrial purposes, Staonal was developed in 1902 and still continues as of 2018.


Numerous products, ranging from bath and personal care items to bedding and electronics, are produced by other companies using the Crayola brand name under license.[54] Crave Entertainment developed a Crayola-themed video game, titled Crayola Treasure Adventures, which was published by Nintendo for Nintendo DS in 2007.[55] Climax Studios developed another Crayola-themed video game, titled Crayola Scoot, which was published by Outright Games for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2018.[56]

Christmas lightsEdit

In the 1996–1997 season, Crayola produced Christmas lights using its name with colors such as pink, orange, blue, gold, and red, and more.[citation needed]


Crayola has manufacturing plants in Forks Township, Pennsylvania, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Lindsay, Ontario, and Mexico City. The colored pencils are made by Faber-Castell Brazilian plants.


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External linksEdit