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Making sense of Magic Scents

Back in the early 1990s Crayola came out with a product line called Magic Scents.  The idea was that the crayons released a specific and familiar scent when they were colored.  This line came in what we loosly refer to as two types:  food-related crayons and non-food related crayons.  They also came in two different package sizes:  8 color and 16 color.  Another difference is that the 8 crayon boxes were actually large (SL2) crayons, not the standard size found in the 16 boxes.  It has commonly been associated that for the USA boxes, the food-related boxes can be identified because they show a strawberry and grapes on the front package and that the non-food related boxes contain a rose and an evergreen tree on the front.  The idea here being that you can eat a strawberry or grape but weren’t likely to eat a rose or evergreen.  I don’t know that we can necessarily make that assumption (but more on that later).  Here are the examples of the USA boxes:

The 8 crayon boxes:

Crayola Magic Scent - 8 colors  Crayola Magic Scent (rose pine) - 8 colors

The 16 crayon boxes:

Crayola Magic Scent (grape) - 16 colors  Crayola Magic Scent - 16 colors

The story doesn’t really end here though.  It is conceivable that for box collector’s and even crayon collectors that collect by wrapper variation, there are even more boxes to be had.  For one thing, Canada also made their own variation of this product and having come from the Canada factories, they use a wholly different design on both boxes and crayon wrappers (usually).  As of this writing, only a single example of Magic Scents from Canada has surfaced – a 16 crayon box with a strawberry and a lime on it.

Crayola Magic Scent (Canada) - 16 colors

If the USA did four different versions of boxes for Magic Scent, did Canada do the same?  It is conceivable that there is also an 8 crayon version of the above box and that there are also 8 crayon and 16 crayon versions from 1995 with non-food related crayons from Canada.  Would these look different?  If this were the case, that would mean that from a front box variation, there would be:
USA – 8 crayon box (food related)
USA – 8 crayon box (non-food related)
USA – 16 crayon box (food-related)
USA – 16 crayon box (non-food related)
Canada – 8 crayon box (food related) *theoretical, no boxes have surfaced to date
Canada – 8 crayon box (non-food related) *theoretical, no boxes have surfaced to date
Canada – 16 crayon box (food related)
Canada – 16 crayon box (non-food related) *theoretical, no boxes have surfaced to date

The story doesn’t end here either (remember, I said I’d come back to the food/non-food issue).  It would appear that they changed the box sometime in 1994 and probably as a direct result they changed the items shown for that reason.  The problem is in the transitioning of crayons and boxes.  For example, the food-related boxes with strawberry and grape can be found only with 1994 copywrites on them.  The non-food related have versions with both 1994 and 1995.  In the case of the 16 box with rose and pine – this can be found with food related crayons if the box is a 1994 box.  Not only that, they changed a couple of crayons in the process:  grape changed to lilac and orange changed to jelly bean  Here is a list of the crayons available in the known boxes:

Stawberry-grape 8 crayon box (1994):
banana, blueberry, bubble gun, cherry, chocolate, licorice, lime, orange

Strawberry-grape 16 crayon box: (1994):
banana, blueberry, bubble gun, cherry, chocolate, licorice, lime, orange plus
coconut, fresh air, grape, lemon, peach, pine, strawberry, rose

Rose-pine 16 crayon box (1994):
banana, blueberry, bubble gun, cherry, chocolate, coconut, fresh air, jelly bean (replaced orange)
lilac (replaced grape), licorice, lime, lemon, peach, pine, strawberry, rose

Rose-pine 8 crayon box (1995):
baby powder, dirt, fresh air, leather jacket, pine, rose, soap, tulip

Rose-pine 16 crayon box (1995):
baby powder, dirt, fresh air, leather jacket, pine, rose, soap, tulip plus
daffodil, cedar chest, eucalyptus, lilac, new car, shampoo, smoke

Canadian strawberry-lime 16 crayon box (1994)
blueberry, chocolate, coconut, bubble gum, cherry, lime, banana, peach, orange, licorice, strawberry, lemon, rose, pine, lilac & fresh air

Mysteries and inconsistencies

So, after all this what have or haven’t we learned?

-The idea of stawberry-grape box being food-related crayons is an inconsistent grouping at best.  If it is a food related group, why are there colors like fresh air and pine?

- The idea of rose-pine non-food-related crayons, while a consistant grouping, is unreliable to adequately describe the boxes as the 1994 versions of this box also contain most of the food related crayons.

- The only way to get the Jelly Bean crayon is to get ahold of the rose-pine box with a 1994 copywrite.  The lilac, while replacing grape, can be found still in the 1995 box since that is a non-food related crayon.

- Why did they switch from strawberry-grape to rose-pine?  Clearly it looks like they did it sometime in 1994 after having run the others for awhile.  Clearly they were still putting food-related crayon colors inside these boxes.  One could speculate that they made the design change of the box from stawberry-grape to rose-pine independent of having to switch out food-related smells for non-food related smells.  Perhaps they made the box change in 1994, did a couple color replacements at the same time (lilac and jelly bean) and THEN came the shut down of the food-related crayons and the introduction of all non-food related crayons which clearly happened in 1995.

- It is also interesting to note that in the Canadian version, grape is lilac, but orange is still there and not jelly bean.  Did they make the switch in the Canadian version?:

- Does a box exist with a large jelly bean crayon?  If the above theory were correct, it is conceivable.  They replaced orange with jelly bean and orange is one of the colors in the 8 box.  It stands to reason that they could have swapped orange with jelly bean in a late 1994 box of the rose-pine.  Since grape isn’t in the 8 box, that would be the only color change out.  So the question stands – If there exists a 16 box from 1994 with food related crayons and a swapped orange-jelly bean, why not also the 8 box of large crayons?

Jelly Bean (front)

Jelly Bean (back)

Oh yes, almost forgot.  The concept of Magic Scents didn’t disappear entirely.  They were just renamed as “Color ‘N Smell” and produced in an 8 crayon box (but this time standard size) and 16 crayon box (the colors remain the same) but even these were eventually discontinued:

Crayola Color 'N Smell - 8 colors  Crayola Color 'n Smell - 16 colors


And then let’s not forget that other countries did these type of concepts too:

Crayola Parfumes - 8 colors  Crayola Parfumes (box) - 8 colors