November 14th, 2011
A Colorful Spirit
When walking down the school supplies aisle at the grocery store, what do you see? You will probably pass by notebooks, pens, and pencils. You will eventually see Crayola Crayons. Don’t you ever wonder how these crayons are made or how they where named? One genius named Edwin Binney changed the way that we’ll draw forever. Edwin Binney impacted the lives of children everywhere. Not only did he make Crayons more easy to to work with, he also made them modern, more vibrant, more safe, and all around more fun.
Edwin Binney was born on November 24, 1866. From a young age, Edwin was surrounded with sales. His father was a great salesman and started Peekskill Chemical Works. This company sold thing like paints, inks, and dyes. When Edwin was 17 years old, he left school to become a traveling salesperson. He never returned to school or enrolled in college. At the age of 19, he started his own natural gas co. that had oil wells between West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Edwin’s father opened a store in New York in and retired a few years later. This was Edwin’s chance to take over the family business with his cousin C. Harold Smith. At that time the company sold thing like coloring used to make black tires. In 1886, Edwin married a school teacher named Alice Stead, built a house in Connecticut, and happily had four children together. In the early 1900’s, Edwin’s company started several more products including dustless chalk and a no rub black crayon. And the in 1903, Alice to him that she (being a school teacher) thought that kids should have better crayons to use in school. Back then, crayons were usually colored lumps of clay or chalk. They where had to work with, not very clean, and definitely not the safest. Edwin went straight to work and the end product was the Crayola Crayon. They were an instant hit!
Edwin Binney founded the Crayola Crayon Co. and invented the Crayola Crayon. He did not invent crayons in general or the fancy kinds of crayons that we use today. He invented the classic eight pack. The box contained a blue, a red, a green, a orange, a purple, a yellow, a black and a brown. This small box only cost five cents, which is about thirty cents now.
Because of his love for gardens, Edwin Binney gave back to his community by creating and naming his own garden and park in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. Later he added a pond and three baseball diamonds to the many trees and flowers all ready there. As he was getting older, he wanted to have something for the people to remember him by.
Edwin’s invention appeals to kids today because the crayons that he presented us were safer, had a more modern appeal to them, were easier to work with, had more vibrant tones, as time progressed there ended up being more different and unique colors, and last but not least, he made them more fun to use. The crayons he gave us where more safe because the were formed, molded, and wrapped. If you had a lump of clay or chalk in you hand and you had something in you eye and tried to get it out, you would have chalk or clay in your eye. So the idea of having wrappers in the molded crayons prevented them from sticking to your fingers. Also having the idea of molded crayons made them easier to work with and handle. With them being molded and wrapped also gave them more of a modern look. He made the crayons more vibrant so that they would please more people would be pleased and wanted people to use his crayons. Eventually, more colors would be added to the bunch. Currently Crayola has 120 different colors of Crayons. And finally, Crayola Crayons are fun because you could pick one up and be entertained for hours on end.
Edwin Binney had a huge impact on the art industry because he lead his business, Crayola, to so many more product then just crayons. He also gave us a crayon that was easier to to work with. He made them modern, more vibrant, more safe, and all around more fun. Now Crayola sells markers and colored pencils too. Also, through an online search, I found out that most people prefer Crayola over Roseart. People say that Crayola is better quality then RoseArt. By making what he thought was a small change in the way that we draw really lead us into a much bigger and more colorful picture. He had a vision and chased after it to make the ones he loved and so many more happy.
Lives and Times
Founder of Crayola Crayons