National Crayon Day on March 31 sparks fond memories of childhood creations in full color as we celebrate one of America’s most beloved toys, the crayon! Crayons delight our senses not just with their brilliant colors but also with their distinct smell, the feel of them in our hands, and for some kids, the waxy taste. With over 12 million crayons made daily, one is never far from reach. So, grab your box of 64 crayons, sharpener included, and get ready for some artistic expression and nostalgia.
Crayons have a colorful history. While hued wax molds have existed for centuries, the modern-day crayon got its start in the 1900s. Crayola crayons were introduced in 1903 by Binney & Smith as a safer and cheaper alternative to the art utensils in use at that time. Binney & Smith premiered their famous eight-pack of crayons with the color line-up: Black, Brown, Orange, Violet, Blue, Green, Red, and Yellow. This color mix, along with their names, remained unchanged for 45 years. Since then, many colors have been added, color names and packaging have changed, and color styles such as neon, metallics, and glitter have emerged. A few colors have even been retired from the color wheel, typically on March 31.
The Crayola crayon has a special place in the hearts of Americans and Americana. It was one of the original inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame in November 1999. It is estimated the average American will have used 730 crayons by their 10th birthday. Even Mr. Rogers has had his hand in the history of crayons by molding the official 100 billionth crayon in February 1996 at the Crayola plant in Easton. Crayons not only add color to our lives, but they’ve also been held as an analogy for the colorfulness of the human race and our ability to live together in a diverse world. Crayons have been used for creating artwork for years.
Originally used for industrial purposes, their popularity soared when the brand Crayola was introduced. Crayons are used as a medium for creating artwork by children in schools mostly, but is also popular among adults who use it for creating contemporary art. Many households have a box of crayons stashed away somewhere, and today is the day it is pulled out. Everyone can enjoy crayons for creating vivid drawings.
BY THE NUMBERS
100 – the number of colors Crayola crayons are available in.
50 – the number of crayon colors retired by Crayola.
3 billion – the number of crayons produced by Crayola in a year.
18th – the ranking in terms of how familiar the crayon scent is to adults.
1962 – the year when Crayola changed the name of their crayon ‘Flesh’ to ‘Peach.’
15 feet – the length of the world’s biggest crayon.
223 billion – the number of Crayola crayons produced to date.
730 – the number of crayons used by the average kid by the age of 10.
“we could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”
-Robert Fulghum, american author
credits: national days