Crayola and Color; A Brief History

Breaktime-headerOriginal Crayola 8 box

You probably saw the press release last week revealing that Crayola is putting an end to the Dandelion crayon. I am  not overly upset by this as, frankly, I (and I am sure your average colorer) could not see much difference between Dandelion (1903), Goldenrod (1990) and Orange-Yellow (1958 and now retired). 

Dandelion Goldenrod

Never-the-less, the story did prompt me to think about the history of Crayola and its colors. What were the original eight colors, the next eight and so on. 

The First Eight (launched in 1903)

  1. Red (1903)
  2. Yellow (1903)
  3. Blue (1903)
  4. Green (1903)
  5. Orange (1903)
  6. Brown (1903)
  7. Purple (1903)
  8. Black (1903)


Later came:

  1. Permanent Geranium Lake (1910)
  2. Dark Venetian Red (1910)
  3. Light Venetian Red (1910)
  4. Celestial Blue (1910)
  5. Raw Sienna (1910)
  6. Charcoal Gray (1910)
  7. Violet (1914)
  8. Maximum Red (1926)

 Some of the names gave no indication of the pigment color. For example there was:

Bitter Sweet (1958), Fuzzy Wuzzy (1998) and Inchworm (2003). Other colors would be totally inappropriate today. Consider Flesh (1903) Indian Red (1903).


What colors didn't make it? Well, Permanent Geranium Lake only lasted 7 years (1903-10) as did Dark Venetian Red and that other favorite, Light Venetian Red. 

If you want to see all of the colors and discover exactly what colr constitutes Permanent Geranium Lake you can do so by clicking here.

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