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Who Invented Crayons

Crayons are used by thousands of people worldwide everyday. They are used for writing, coloring and drawing. But who invented crayons? This post will answer that very question!

Who Invented Crayons?

For thousands of years, mankind has used a variety of different instruments to write and draw. However, the first ‘modern’ crayons originated in Europe. No one knows who first invented them, but they were probably made of a mixture between charcoal and oil. The first crayons had no color, they were all black (due to the charcoal). Eventually, powdered pigments were used to give the crayons some color! Many years later it was discovered that it was better to use wax than oil, as it made the crayons a lot easier to use.

Crayola crayons, the most popular crayons used today, were invented by two cousins- Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. They invented them in 1903. When they were first experimenting with crayons they loaded them with carbon black, which was very toxic to children. They eventually perfected the mixture so it was nontoxic for children.

Source: inventors.about.com

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(4) Comments

  1. For once an accurate answer on this question. Congrats for that. But it’s a bit vague. Here’s a little more depth on it:

    The crayon has its roots going back to the time of the Greeks and a method of wax painting called encaustic. From there, pastel sticks of pure pigment, color chalk and colored pencils where wax substituted for the graphite all play a role in formulating the creation of the modern crayon. Conte’ crayons originated in the late 1700s and also played a role because they were one of the first “sticks” to not need a fixative to ensure the colors stayed as applied. Later Lithographers used wax crayons for their trade. Eventually companies like Couleurs out of Paris and other European companies began to develop crayons using toxic materials. In the USA, the Franklin Mfg. Company began producing industrial crayons in 1876 and later in the 1880s and 1890s created wax crayon in attractive packages exactly like the modern crayon of today. Other companies quickly joined in. Charles Bowley, Danvers, MA did the same in the late 1880s and when production exceeded his ability to keep up, he partnered with the American Crayon Company who debuted his line of crayons in 1902. Standard Crayon Company started making wax crayons in the late 1890s. Joseph Dixon and Milton Bradley both made artist pressed crayons in the late 1890s as well. All of the major pencil manufacturers dabbled in crayons prior to 1903 as well (Eberhard Faber, Eagle Pencil, American Lead Pencil, Dixon). In 1903, Binney & Smith came along with the Crayola brand and through their quality and use of consistent look to their line of crayons they became synonymous with the word “crayon” and later dominated the industry. They currently are run as Crayola, LLC. and are the largest manufacturer of crayons worldwide.

  2. Looking for information on who owned the Franklin Mfg Co. Does anyone know? I’ve seen a number of references to the company but not who was behind the company. I’ve been told it is a relative, hence the interest in additional information. Thank you.

  3. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much information about who founded or owned Franklin Mfg Co. Hopefully, someone else will be able to answer your question for you!

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