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The Crayola Bears, © 1986, in colors of red, yellow and blue are six –inch, plush promotional bears.

Color up some fun!

“Crayola. Childhood isn’t Childhood without it.” Children have enjoyed Crayola Crayons since 1903. The little ones start when they are about three, with a box of basic colors, and learn the difference between red, yellow and blue.  By the time the children go to school the primary colors are “boring” and the parents are pressured into buying the latest Crayola crayons with yellow- green, red-violet and blue-green. Mom also gets a color book and sits down with Junior and colors one page while Junior sits next to her and colors the other page.

“Mom …I need silver for the wheels on this car. Mom, you should have a copper color for your tea kettle.  Mom…If I had gold I would make this star gold!”

Mom makes a mental note. Get Junior a new box of Crayola crayons for his birthday. He is a creative child. He needs all the colors available to develop his artistic potential, she rationalizes.

So, of course Mom buys a new box of crayons. Junior loves the assortment of new colors like   pine-green, mulberry, sepia, bittersweet, wild strawberry, dandelion, and aquamarine crayons.  

Thanks to, two cousins, Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith, who invented Crayola Crayons. They sold their first box of eight Crayola Crayons in 1903. The colors were black, blue, brown, green, orange, red, violet and yellow.  And they were sold for only a nickel a box in those days.

Obviously Binney and Smith loved color and by 1949 there were 48 Crayola Crayons in a box with interesting names like Bittersweet, Thistle, Flesh and Prussian Blue. Through the years changes were made. The Prussian Blue name was changed to Midnight Blue in 1958 in response to a teacher’s request. Flesh was changed to peach in 1962 as a result of the U.S.  Civil Rights Movement.

By 1958    there were 64 colors available. One was rather controversial. According to the Crayola history, Indian Red was renamed Chestnut in 1999 in response to educators who felt some children  wrongly perceived the crayon was intended to represent the skin color of Native Americans. The name Indian Red actually originated from a reddish-brown pigment found near India, commonly used in fine artist’s oil paints.

By the 21 century Binney and Smith provided the younger generation with 120 different colors. Thistle was removed to make room for Indigo. Torch Red was renamed Scarlet. In the meantime Binney and Smith were offering promotional toys too. In 1986 plush Teddy bears a little over 5-inches high, with “Crayola” T-shirts, were promotional bears offered in the Sunday advertising supplements. The bears were made in several primary colors and free with proofs-of-purchases at the Burger King Corporation.  

By the 1990s Binney and Smith had a new trademark character working for them, Tip the Zany Character of the Ad world in the image of a huge crayon.