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The inside story of the "torch red" crayon

In 1997 Crayola announced The "Search for True Blue Heroes" contest by bringing out three new boxes: a 64-count, a 96-count, and a 120-count, all dated 1997.


Crayola True Blue Heroes 120 colors
(the 64-count, and 96-count have subset of the 120's crayons in them so only a box collector would care ;))

In this box is the following crayon - front side:

Front side of contest crayon

back side:
Back side of contest crayons

Crayola announced the winners of the contest by bring out a limited edition tin dated 1997:
True Blue Heroes tin

In the tin was this crayon - front side:
Front side tin crayon

back side:
Back side tin crayon

In the tin was a little booklet and the page for this crayon:

Booklet

We are told that this crayon was named "torch red" in 1998 by the crayon chronology.
http://www.crayola.com/colorcensus/history/chronology.cfm

And in the next block the chronology says:

Colors Available 2000

 

 

All colors previously listed with the following exceptions. Thistle was removed from the 120-count assortment to make room for indigo; torch red was renamed scarlet.  Yes, and in every one of the "Wizard's Giant Box of Crayons" dated 1999:


Crayola Wizards Giant Box of Crayons

that I have looked in, even old and dusty ones at the back in some stores, there is only the crayon "scarlet".
    (p.s. I had to get these boxes and tin out of the cardboard box in the closet)

So a frustrated crayon name collector (like me) sends a question off to Crayola:

Customer (Kurt Baty) - 03/23/2004 05:12 PM
Hi,
    I am looking for the crayon named "torch red" (not the
renamed crayon scarlet) I would gladly pay for as many as you
can sell me, or a box of 64!

        thanks

        kurt



        Thank you for your e-mail.  I am sorry to disappoint you,
but we no longer manufacture a Crayola Crayon named Torch Red
In 2000, Torch Red was renamed Scarlet and although it was the
same color, we ceased production of the labels with the name,
Torch Red on them.

        You may want to look for a set of 120 Crayons that was
manufactured prior to the year, 2000 if you need that particular
color name.

 

I get email from other frustrated crayon name collectors:

> Dear kurt_at_wsfdb,
>
> Hi, It looks like you are an expert
> when it comes to Crayola Crayons! I
> am trying to get one each of all
> the colors since the 48 Rubens
> Edition. The one I don't have is
> Torch Red. It seems like maybe that
> was part of the original 120
> package, but not in current ones.
> Do you sell Crayons? I'm interested
> in a Torch Red or if you can give
> me some hints on where to find one
> I would be grateful. Thanks for
> your time!! Fred

 

and

Dear kurt_at_wsfdb,

Hi - I would love a link to your list of crayon color names. I've been looking for Torch Red
for two years now with no luck. Do you know where to find it? Thanks, Donna

Here at the crayons email list we have a "deep-cover operative" at the Binney & Smith factory who has uncovered some tantalizing facts. We only have email contact with her our agent who has to do this work in the dark of night, so:

Sun, 18 Apr 2004 12:06:08
OK, TORCH RED WAS IN BOXES PACKED IN 1998, BUT STOPPED IN 2000.
I REALLY DON'T THINK THE BACK DATE ON THE BOX MEANS ANYTHING OTHER
THAN THE BOX WAS MADE IN THAT YEAR..........THE BOXES ARE MADE BY SOMEONE
ELSE.......LET ME SEE IF I CAN FIND OUT MORE..................

Sun, 18 Apr 2004 23:10:11
im going to work now, im gonna check on the torch red. crayons...im
getting  pissed, i cant find
out anything on what box they were in. talk to you tomorrow.

Tue, 27 Apr 2004 13:07:41
Hi all, I talked to XXXX name removed, who now is in crayons. XXXX's worked there in the plant 24+ years. and about 4 or 5 years ago went into mangement.........anyway XXXX told me last night that XXXX had to rework crayons once and XXXX actually THREW AWAY. torch red ones..................hope you were sitting down Kurt.

Wed, 28 Apr 2004 11:58:46
talk to the XXXX who threw all those torch reds away..........................
XXXX said they had XXXX working through pallets and pallets................cuz they were
discontinued...................aint that a hoot.................thats probably why they are
so hard to find...........there in the dirt somewhere.

 

Well, we now have first hand info of Crayola's "torch red" dumping!!!

Then I saw this item on eBAY:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2238959866&category=158&sspagename=STRK%3AMEBWN%3AIT&rd=1
which I bought, hoping that maybe...

The "CRAYOLA GIANT CHEST OF CRAYONS" 120-count dated 1997:

Giant Chest of Crayons

I was not alone

Congratulations on your purchase of the 1997 Crayola box of 120. I was going to bid on it to try and get the elusive "Torch Red" but when I saw you had a bid I didn't want to push the price up. Let me know if the Torch Red color is actually in the box and I'll be bidding on the next one that goes up for auction. Thanks

also

I noticed you won a Giant Box of 120 a couple of days ago.  I almost bid on that because Iíve been looking for ĎTorch Redí for a while now.  It was available only for a few months either late 1997 or early 1998, I think.  I wonder if it is in that box you picked up.  Hmmm. 

TO BE CONTINUED...
We will break for commercial...
NEXT TIME on...

And NOW the exciting conclusion of tonight's feature story
in that box was this crayon:
Torch red crayon

I hope you enjoyed our story!    kurt