A Colorful Past and Bright Green Future: The History of Crayola

Childhood is often filled with precious memories and unforgettable moments. The first time you open a new, “fresh” box of crayons is one of them. The smell, the colors and the endless creative possibilities are just a few of the reasons why this moment is so special and perhaps why Crayola has been so successful for more than one hundred years and recognized in 99% of U.S. households. Today, one billion crayons and 500 million markers are produced by Crayola every year using solar power at the Crayola campus located in Forks Township, Pennsylvania.

In 1885, Crayola, known at that time as Binney & Smith began producing their earliest incarnations. Owners Edwin Binney and his nephew, C. Harold Smith’s early products included red oxide pigment (used in barn paint) and carbon black that was used in car tires. Five years later, Binney & Smith began producing slate school pencils. Two years after school pencils were introduced, the first box of crayons were created and sold for just five cents for the box of eight containing the following colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black. It was then when the Crayola brand was created. The Crayola name comes from the French word for chalk, “crai” and “ola” from “oleaginous” originally coined by Edwin Binney’s wife Alice. In 1961, Crayola became a publicly held company (BYS). The decades that followed included incredible growth and expansion and in 1984, Binney & Smith became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc. 1997 saw another important milestone. Binney & Smith officially changed its name to Crayola LLC.

An ever-evolving and ecologically friendly company, Crayola celebrates a long and successful history and has set the scene for a very green future. In 2011, the Crayola Solar Farm was completed and includes more than 30,000 solar panels producing 3 megawatts of electricity. According to Crayola’s website, “Crayola may make virtually every color under the sun, but its current favorite is green. By using renewable energy, reducing waste and protecting the rainforests, Crayola’s green initiative is helping to ensure that today’s kids will have a healthy environment for their creative tomorrows.”  Today, Crayola continues to create warm and colorful memories and fun and enriching products all while being incredibly kind to Mother Nature.

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Content sources: http://www.crayola.com/

Image sources: http://earth911.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/students-convince-crayola-to-recycle-markers-flickr.jpg, http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3417/3352356475_aa8c0e42fa.jpg, http://www.mishpuhe.co.il/images/imagebank/big/gettyImages.com/background/200246530-001.jpg, http://www.mnn.com/sites/default/files/main_solar_2.jpg