Coloring the World

Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith were cousins. Edwin was an entrepreneur who created the first dustless chalk. C. Harold Smith was born in England and lived in New Zealand before coming to the U.S. He was known as the Carbon King based on his knowledge of the carbon industry.

Edwin and Harold joined forces to form the Binney and Smith Company, a chemical company. The main products of the company were pigments to add color to industrial chemicals. As the company expanded into school supplies with pencils and the dustless chalk that Edwin had invented, they also developed a marking crayon.

Edwin, working with his wife, then developed a wax crayon that was sold under the name of Crayola. The name was the merger of two French names for chalk and oil. Anticipating competition, the Binney and Smith Company introduced their new products as a full product line consisting of different size boxes, different size crayons, and up to 30 different colors.

Initially, the crayon market was schools. Home use became a major market. It is estimated that a child uses 730 crayons on average by the age of 10. Over time, colors have changed as well as their names. The number of colors available exceeds 100 and reflects the multicultural diversity of the markets for crayons.

Binney and Smith, which started as an industrial supplier, has been a factor in the creative development of children across the world. Hidden heroes often become contributors to society in areas where they never would have anticipated. They use their knowledge in one area to create new products or services in other areas.

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“I see myself as a crayon: I may not be your favorite color, but I know someday; you will need me to complete your picture.” –      Unknown

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