ccheader.tif

homesmall.tifcrayolasmall.tifcompaniessmall.tifarticlessmall.tif

The Definitive History of the Colors of Crayola

Part 3 Ė Other Color Names

This is a multi-part series of articles written to tell the tale of the history of color names for Crayola.

You can visit earlier parts here: Part 1 - In the Beginning there was..., Part 2 - The Original Color Line Up

 


 

Variations on a Color

 

Having established 38 core original colors, before we take a look at what came next, letís address the other color names used because in reality, youíll find not 38 named colors contained in the original set of color assortments sold in those original years, but actually 54.What about these other 16?Are they legitimate colors?They certainly are unique named colors but the true colors (the color one sees when one colors on white paper) are actually the same as another color.Now who is to say whether Pink or Rose Pink started first.All I know is that when Crayola molded these crayons prior to applying a label, they were the same color.†† Perhaps it is important to recognize both viewpoints.

 

For those researchers, collectors and historians that are really into detail, there exists an even more minor variation of color names.Color names were also changed slightly as a convenience when printing the crayon wrapper.A good example is that of Ultramarine Blue which you will find printed as Ult. Blue on many crayons.There exist many abbreviations.The Rubenís crayon used a format that had the color name printed perpendicular from the crayon length, not with it and therefore had much less room for the longer names so many of these had abbreviations.†† I will reference these abbreviations but not address them as a unique color name for this list as they are clearly just the same color.

 

Other variations on Crayola crayons were misspellings or just minor corrections.Misspellings are actually more common than one might think.The crayon wrappers were done by hand using local farmers and other residents for many years and inevitably human nature intervenes and mistakes were made into production.Those mistakes are more of a novelty than an actual legitimate color name variation and wonít be included.

 

Then there are the upper and lower case distinctions (such as Blue vs BLUE vs blue) and the usage of a hyphen between dual colors (such as Blue-Gray vs Blue Gray).We know these are the same colors and the usage of a hyphen or the case of the text only serve to identify a crayon to a specific time window that they used the color name in that way.These will be referenced but not tracked independently.

 

Actual name variation changes, such as the three minor but distinct Macaroni and Cheese names, will be tracked but again, they are all the same true color.

 

Finally, there are numerous examples throughout Crayolaís color history where a named crayon color has had their true color changed without changing the name of the color.There are many reasons why this happened:They may have found a specific color variation to be superior in quality to the original, they may have switched sourcing.The difficulty in identifying these is that there is some variation to the color over the years depending on the degree of quality control during the making of a specific batch of crayons.Do all of these subtle changes make a valid new true color?Thatís a difficult one to assess.Unless there is a noticeable difference between swatches then Iím not going to track every subtle nuance of color variation.In the end, there will be named colors that will account for more than one true color on the list.

 

Harder still are the swapping and merging of colors.On occasion, Crayola has actually taken a named colorís true color and used it for another named color and then offered up something completely different for the one it came from.What this does is make it difficult to document a colorís lineage from start to end.Does one trace the true color or the naming?For example, Lavender came from Middle Purple but then got a completely different color while the old true Lavender color resurfaced as Purple Mountainís Majesty.Or take the case where Brilliant Rose got renamed to Magenta but at the same time they changed the true color.Is that a technical end to Brilliant Rose when Magenta was introduced or is that a color lineage because it was a one-for-one replacement and they were clearly close in apparent color (the color the crayon looks like)?Like I said, their color history is complex and difficult to interpret and document.

 

Still, in part two of this history I quickly dismissed a lot of color names as having the same true color.Was I right?Well, you be the judge:

 

Blues:

 

1905 Blue Swatches

 

Browns:

 

1905 Brown Swatches

 

Greens:

 

1905 Green Swatches

 

Purples:

 

1905 Purple Swatches

 

Reds:

 

1905 Red Swatches

 

Yellows:

 

1905 Yellow Swatches

 

Others:

 

1905 Other Swatches

 

These are actual color swatches I have made of all the various original colors for you to compare.Iíll admit, some are difficult to tell if they are the same or unique.However, when comparing assortments those colors are in, we find that none of them is in the same assortment as the one containing another color name that is supposedly the same color.For example:There are no assortments with both Purple and Violet.Gold Ochre and Golden Ochre are in completely different products (Rubens Crayola vs Crayola).Lemon Yellow exists in the No. 51 but never again and there was no Light Yellow in that assortment so given the closeness in color on the color swatches, one has to conclude that they simply chose a different name for the color on that particular assortment and changed it for other assortments.The Chrome colors are just naming formalities that were dropped on other boxes.Did one replace the other?Itís really difficult to say because there is no progression of boxes between 1903 and 1905 and so we have to evaluate the entire line as a whole.The odd usage of Cobalt Blue to make Light Blue and Prussian Blue to make Dark Blue in the No. 105 Charlton Box makes sense when one understands the nature of that box.Since it was designed as a special exclusive box for a department store, they changed a couple of the names of existing colors to make the box unique in the eyes of the department store consumers; a place where only those colors were available (an example of the power of the color name even a century ago!)

 

A Revised Color List

 

Ok, now that we have the rules and definitions established, letís look at our core list another way.For simplification, weíll keep the list sorted by the named color number as they get introduced.

 

Color List Ė 1903 to 1905.Note that UC stands for upper case, LC for lower case.

 

Named
Color #

True
Color #


Color Name

Year

Named

True Color

Year

End

Date


End Reason

All

UC

All

LC

Mix

UC/LC


Other Name Variations on Wrapper


Notes

1

1

Black

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

2

2

Blue

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

3

3

Brown

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Van Dyke Brown

4

4

Burnt Sienna

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Bt. Sienna

 

5

5

Burnt Umber

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

6

6

Celestial Blue

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

7

7

Charcoal Gray

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Charc Gray

 

8

8

Chrome Green, Dark

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Chr. Green DK, Ch. Green Dk.

Same color as Green, Dark; Dark Green

9

9

Chrome Green, Light

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

Chr Green L, CHR. GREEN L, Chr Green Lt.

Same color as Green, Light

10

10

Chrome Green, Medium

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Chr. Green M

Same color as Green, Medium; Medium Green

11

11

Chrome Yellow, Light

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Yellow

12

12

Chrome Yellow, Medium

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Chr Yellow Med.

Same color as Yellow Medium; Medium Yellow

13

13

Cobalt Blue

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Blue

14

14

Copper

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

15

15

Dark Blue

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

No

 

Same color as Prussian Blue, made exclusively for E.C. Charlton Stores

16

8

Dark Green

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Dk. Green

Same color as Green, Dark; Chrome Green, Dark

17

16

English Vermillion

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Eng. Vermillion, Eng. Vermilion

Same color as Vermillion

18

17

Flesh Tint

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

19

18

Gold

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

20

19

Gold Ochre

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Golden Ochre

21

19

Golden Ochre

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Gold Ochre

22

20

Green

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

23

8

Green, Dark

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Green, Dk.

Same color as Chrome Green, Dark; Dark Green

24

9

Green, Light

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Chrome Green, Light

25

10

Green, Medium

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

No

Green, Med.,

Same color as Chrome Green, Medium; Medium Green

26

21

Indian Red

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Ind. Red

 

27

11

Lemon Yellow

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Yellow

28

14

Light Blue

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Cobalt Blue.†† Made exclusively for E.C. Charlton Stores

29

11

Light Yellow

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Yellow Lt.

Same color as Lemon Yellow

30

22

Madder Lake

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

31

23

Magenta

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Permanent Magenta

32

10

Medium Green

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Med. Green

Same color as Green, Medium; Chrome Green, Medium

33

12

Medium Yellow

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Med. Yellow

Same color as Yellow Medium; Chrome Yellow, Medium

34

24

Olive Green

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

35

25

Orange

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

36

26

Permanent Geranium Lake

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

37

23

Permanent Magenta

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Magenta

38

27

Pink

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Rose Pink

49

15

Prussian Blue

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

Prus. Blue

Same color as Dark Blue

40

28

Purple

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Violet

41

29

Raw Sienna

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

42

30

Raw Umber

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

43

31

Red

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

44

27

Rose Pink

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Pink

45

32

Silver

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

46

33

Ultramarine Blue

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

ULT. BLUE; Ult. Blue

 

47

3

Van Dyke Brown

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Brown

48

34

Venetian Red

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Ven. Red

 

49

35

Venetian Red, Dark

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

50

36

Venetian Red, Light

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

51

28

Violet

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Purple

52

37

White

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

53

38

Yellow

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

54

12

Yellow Medium

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Chrome Yellow, Medium; Medium Yellow

 

With this as the established start of our color list, next up is to evaluate what changes occurred after this and how that affected their color line up.

 

Next:Part 4 - The Gold Medal Changeover