One product that has been a part of many people’s childhood experiences is the crayon. It is such an interesting product. In my own personal experience, I did not view it as a writing or coloring instrument, but more as a toy. In fact I recall chewing a crayon on a number of occasions.

Only later on did I learn to make a distinction. Crayons and Crayola crayons are two different things. What I fondly recall chewing is a Crayola crayon. Crayon encompasses a wider range of items. There are basically two types of crayon, coloring (wax) and chalk. Based on my own personal experience, whenever I asked for crayons, I usually was given Crayola crayons.


image by George Hernandez

One of the nice things about Crayola products are that they are non-toxic, which is great for kids. The company who manufactures this wax colored-crayon was initially known as Binney & Smith after the cousins who owned and ran it. The company started in 1885 and produced and offered to the public Crayola crayons in 1903. They offered eight colors. This number of colors has increased over the years.

The company changed its name to Crayola in 2007 and is now a subsidiary of Hallmark. It’s reported to produce 3 billion crayons a year, along with other children-related products as well.

Nowadays, there are a dizzying array of products and toys offered to children. Yet, Crayola, a for profit company, has made a product that seems like a natural part of a child’s learning and growing experience. Hopefully in the years and decades ahead, it will remain that way.