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The Definitive History of the Colors of Crayola

Part 8 – New Assortments equal New Color Changes

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, Part 3 - Other Color Names, Part 4 - The Gold Medal Changeover, Part 5 - Dwindling Down, Part 6 - Changes in the Roaring 20s, Part 7 - Crayola Color Wheel

 

Time for a Big Change

 

image062In 1935, midway through the decade and well into the Great Depression, Crayola made a number of major changes to their existing product line that impacted their crayon line.  First of all, they again changed the design of their Gold Medal line by moving to an octagon design.  As they made these changes, they also changed their wrapper type again (to type 4).  This time, they chose to print all of their colors as upper case; setting a standard they would mostly follow for years to come. 

 

1935 was also the year that marked a final end to the Rubens Crayola line as it was depicted from their earliest beginnings.  The lone holdouts for the line had been the No. 18 and No. 24 which avoided a changeover in 1910 and had somehow stayed on the market for over 20 more years. They did a complete makeover on both of these products by converting them into the standard Crayola line.  Instead of being called Rubens-Crayola they were now just Crayola.  Gone were the old box designs; replaced with a more conventional design fitting to their other assortments.  They did keep Rubens on the box and called them Drawing Crayons.  Eventually even Rubens picture would fade away from the designs as the years went on.  In doing this makeover, they also took the opportunity to finally let go of the Rubens wrappers by replacing them with standard type 4 Crayola wrappers which in turn changed the named color list.

 

24-1.jpgThe last Rubens-Crayola No. 24 went from Black, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Chr. Green, L., Cobalt Blue, Dark Green, Eng. Vermillion, Flesh Tint, Gold Ochre, Ind. Red, Madder Lake, Magenta, Med. Green, Med. Yellow, Olive Green, Orange, Prussian Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Raw Umber, Rose Pink, Violet, White, Yellow to BLACK,BLUE,BLUE-GREEN, BLUE-VIOLET, BROWN, BURNT SIENNA, DARK GREEN, GOLD OCHRE, GREEN, MIDDLE BLUE-GREEN, NEUTRAL-GRAY, OLIVE GREEN, ORANGE, PRUSSIAN BLUE, RED, RED-ORANGE, RED-VIOLET, ROSE PINK, TURQUOISE BLUE, VIOLET, WHITE, YELLOW, YELLOW-GREEN, YELLOW-ORANGE

 

Burnt Umber was replaced with Brown

Raw Umber was removed and Neutral Gray added

Flesh Tint was removed from the assortment

Ultramarine Blue was replaced with Turquoise Blue (which was renamed from Maximum Blue)

Madder Lake was replaced with Red

 

After that, the remaining (Chr. Green, L., Cobalt Blue, Eng. Vermillion, Flesh Tint, Ind. Red, Magenta, Med. Green, Med. Yellow) were replaced by

BLUE,BLUE-GREEN, BLUE-VIOLET, GREEN, MIDDLE BLUE-GREEN, RED-ORANGE, RED-VIOLET, YELLOW-GREEN, YELLOW-ORANGE.

 

That radical shift in color names was also fuelled by the discontinuation of the Munsell-Crayola line and the general direction to move those colors into the Crayola fold and make them their own, not the former Munsell names.  The original Munsell names lived on for a period of several years under the No 241M box (which stood for Munsell) to allow for the gradual changeover to be successful.  That box looked identical to the No. 241; it merely had an “M” stamped on it as they packed those variations with the Munsell colors.

 

Here’s what would eventually happen to the former Munsell colors:

 

Maximum Black was discontinued and Black was used going forward

Crayola No 241M (Red) - 24 colors.jpgMaximum Blue was used as Blue Green in 1930 and changed its name to that exclusively in 1949 and up to 1958 when it was discontinued

Maximum Blue Green was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Maximum Green was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Maximum Green Yellow was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Maximum Purple was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Maximum Purple Blue was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Maximum Red was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Maximum Red Purple was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Maximum Yellow was used as Gamboge Yellow in 1941 and then became the new Yellow in 1949

Maximum Yellow Red became Yellow Orange in 1949

Middle Blue became Light Turquoise Blue in 1949

Middle Blue Green kept the same name and color up to 1958 and then became Blue Green

Middle Grey was also used as Neutral Gray in 1930 and it became that exclusively in 1944 but then changed to Gray in 1956

Middle Green was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Middle Green Yellow was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Middle Purple was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Middle Purple Blue was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Middle Red was discontinued in 1942 when the No. 241M box was discontinued

Middle Red Purple was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Middle Yellow was discontinued in 1949 (though it wasn’t available from 1944 due to WWII)

Middle Yellow Red became Medium Orange in 1949

 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Let’s look at what the end of 1935 does to our color list:

 

1935 Color List Changes

 

Charcoal Gray was discontinued because they already inherited Middle Grey with the Munsell acquisition.

Burnt Umber was renamed Sepia but actually drops out of the line up for any assortments for several years and was only available in bulk during that time.

Celestial Blue was resurrected; having not been in the color line up since 1910 when the No 51 was discontinued.  But here’s where Crayola starts to REALLY get confusing in their colors.  Take a look at the comparison between the 1903 color swatches and what we have for these in 1935.

 

Celestial Blue Switch.jpg

 

Notice that they’ve now switched what was the old true color Blue with the new 1935 Celestial Blue.  Basically, they swapped out their blue and that left them with a color they still wanted to use and since Celestial Blue hadn’t been used since 1910 they just revived the name with a different true color.  If that was true then what about their Blue in 1935?  Yes, that was a new true color using the same Blue name.  These were the changes:

 

Blue was a new true color to add to the list.

Celestial Blue was not only a previously used name but also a previously used color but the combination made it new to add to the list.

Chrome Green Light was discontinued.  They didn’t really replace the color with anything as the No. 24 assortment just made room for other colors.

Chrome Yellow Medium was discontinued but lived on as Medium Yellow which could be found in the No. 18 but interestingly NOT in the No. 24

Cobalt Blue only lived on in the No. 332 but that is a non-wrapper assortment so if you wanted a Cobalt Blue crayon with a wrapper, you had to order it from bulk during this era.

English Vermillion was discontinued after the No. 12 moved its color assortment to the new color wheel colors as it was the last to carry that color name.

Flesh Tint only lived on in the No. 332 but that was a non-wrapper assortment so if you wanted a Flesh Tint crayon with a wrapper, you had to order it from bulk during this era.

Madder Lake was discontinued after they moved from the Rubens to the Crayola format for the No. 18 and No. 24

Medium Green dropped out of all standard size assortments and could now only be found in the No 99 assortment as a longer crayon (including no bulk availability)

Venetian Red only lived on in the No. 332 but that was a non-wrapper assortment so if you wanted a Venetian Red crayon with a wrapper, you had to order it from bulk during this era.

Maximum Black was discontinued in favor of the Black they already had.

Carmine was introduced as a new color and was only available in the No. 332 but that was a non-wrapper assortment so if you wanted a Carmine crayon with a wrapper you had to order it from bulk during this era.

Sepia was introduced as a new color but only available in bulk.

Turquoise Blue was introduced as a new color and was only available in the No. 332 but that was a non-wrapper assortment so if you wanted a Turquoise Blue crayon with a wrapper, you had to order it from bulk during this era.

 

1935 New Colors.jpg

 

Before we can say those were all the changes we have to look at some of the other original colors.  After the complete swap out of Blue one has to wonder if any of the other original colors had changed their true color over the years.  Vibrancy and pigmentation improvements (or variations from batch to batch) are to be expected but significant changes should be noted and recorded as such.

 

True Color Comparisons 1903 to 1935.jpg

 

With this sampling of original color swatches and the 1935 color swatches we can draw some conclusions.  Red is much more vibrant by 1935 but essentially the same color.  Orange too is a little richer.  Brown is a bit lighter in color and nearly worthy to document as another true color.  All of the rest are about the same.  Raw Umber looked very similar to the newly created Sepia but when comparing them closely we can clearly see that Sepia doesn’t carry nearly the lighter brown hues that Raw Umber did which means they didn’t just rename it with a new color.  Instead, they formulated another new color.  Turquoise and Carmine made their first appearance in the lists despite the fact that neither color was available in any assortment during this time.

Crayola No 332 (red borders) - 32 colors.jpg

In addition to all of the colors changing and leaving the line up and all the existing assortment changes, they also added a couple of new assortment offerings with the No. 241 and 241M.  These were flat box versions of the No. 24 box.  They also increased their color assortment size from 24 to 32 by offering the No. 332 box in a flat design.  The introduction of this box marks their largest color offering in an assortment since their origins.  The progression of color assortment offerings now stands at:

 

1903 – 1910, 30 colors (compliments of the No. 30)

1911 – 1934, 24 colors (compliments of the Rubens-Crayola No. 24)

1935 – 1938, 32 colors (compliments of the No. 332)

 

Let’s look at the 1935 color list:

 

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

1935

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

True color renamed to Celestial Blue

2

66

Blue

1903

1935

 

 

Yes

 

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

1910

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Only found in No. 51 box

6

2

Celestial Blue

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Reused color name for orig. 1903 Blue color

7

7

Charcoal Gray

1903

1903

1910

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Charc Gray

 

8

8

Chrome Green, Dark

1903

1903

1910

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

Chr. Green DK, Ch. Green Dk.

Same color as Green, Dark; Dark Green

9

9

Chrome Green, Light

1903

1903

1935

Discontinued

Yes

 

Yes

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

Same color as Green, Light

10

10

Chrome Green, Medium

1903

1903

1910

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

Chr. Green M

Same color as Green, Medium; Medium Green

11

11

Chrome Yellow, Light

1903

1903

1910

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Yellow

12

12

Chrome Yellow, Medium

1903

1903

1935

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

Chr Yellow Med.

Same color as Yellow, Medium; Medium Yellow

13

13

Cobalt Blue

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Blue; only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon starting 1935

14

14

Copper

1903

1903

1915

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

 

15

15

Dark Blue

1903

1903

1917

Used as other name

Yes

 

No

 

Same color as Prussian Blue

16

8

Dark Green

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Green Dark; Chrome Green, Dark

17

16

English Vermillion

1903

1903

1935

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Eng. Vermillion, Eng. Vermilion

 

18

17

Flesh Tint

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon starting 1935

19

18

Gold

1903

1903

1915

Only offered as bulk

 

 

Yes

 

 

20

19

Gold Ochre

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Golden Ochre

21

19

Golden Ochre

1903

1903

1910

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Gold Ochre

22

20

Green

1903

1903

1930

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

22

61

Green

1903

1930

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

23

8

Green, Dark

1903

1903

1914

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Chrome Green, Dark; Dark Green

24

9

Green, Light

1903

1903

1914

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Chrome Green, Light

25

10

Green, Medium

1903

1903

1914

Used as other name

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

1910

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Yellow.  Only found in No. 51 box

28

14

Light Blue

1903

1903

1917

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

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

29

11

Light Yellow

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

Yellow Lt.; Lt. Yellow

Same color as Lemon Yellow

30

22

Madder Lake

1903

1903

1935

Discontinued

 

 

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; Starting 1935 only avail in long crayon size in No. 99

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

1910

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

 

37

23

Permanent Magenta

1903

1903

1914

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Magenta

38

27

Pink

1903

1903

1917

Used as other name

 

 

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

1914

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Violet

41

29

Raw Sienna

1903

1903

1910

Discontinued

 

 

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

1915

Only offered as bulk

 

 

Yes

 

 

46

33

Ultramarine Blue

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

ULT. BLUE; Ult. Blue

 

47

3

Van Dyke Brown

1903

1903

1910

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Brown.  Only found in No. 51 box

48

34

Venetian Red

1903

1903

 

 

 

 

Yes

Ven. Red

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon starting 1935

49

35

Venetian Red, Dark

1903

1903

1910

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

 

50

36

Venetian Red, Light

1903

1903

1910

Discontinued

 

 

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

1914

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Chrome Yellow, Medium; Medium Yellow

55

9

Light Green

1910

1910

 

 

 

 

Yes

Lt. Green

Same color as Chrome Green, Light

56

39

Maximum Black

1926

1926

1935

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

57

40

Maximum Blue

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Blue Green

58

41

Maximum Blue Green

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Maximum Blue-Green

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

59

42

Maximum Green

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

60

43

Maximum Green Yellow

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Maximum Green-Yellow

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

61

44

Maximum Purple

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

62

45

Maximum Purple Blue

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Maximum Purple-Blue

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

63

46

Maximum Red

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

64

47

Maximum Red Purple

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Maxmimum Red-Purple

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

65

48

Maximum Yellow

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

66

49

Maximum Yellow Red

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Middle Yellow-Red

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Yellow Orange

67

50

Middle Blue

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

68

51

Middle Blue Green

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Middle Blue-Green

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

69

52

Middle Grey

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Neutral Gray

70

53

Middle Green

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

71

54

Middle Green Yellow

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Middle Green-Yellow

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

72

55

Middle Purple

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

73

56

Middle Purple Blue

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Middle Purple-Blue

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

74

57

Middle Red

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

75

58

Middle Red Purple

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Middle Red-Purple

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

76

59

Middle Yellow

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

77

60

Middle Yellow Red

1926

1926

 

 

 

 

Yes

Middle Yellow-Red

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

78

40

Blue Green

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

 

 

Blue-Green

Same color as Maximum Blue

79

62

Blue Violet

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

 

 

Blue-Violet

 

80

52

Neutral Gray

1930

1926

 

 

Yes

 

 

Neutral-Gray

Same color as Middle Grey

81

63

Red Orange

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

 

 

Red-Orange

 

82

64

Red Violet

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

 

 

Red-Violet

 

83

65

Yellow Green

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

 

 

Yellow-Green

 

84

49

Yellow Orange

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

 

 

Yellow-Orange

Same color as Maximum Yellow Red

85

67

Carmine

1935

1935

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon

86

68

Sepia

1935

1935

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Only available in bulk

87

69

Turquoise Blue

1935

1935

 

 

 

 

Yes

 

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon

 

And all of this leaves the counts as:

Named Colors still in use:  Is up from 59 to 61

True Colors still in use:  Is up from 54 to 58

Our overall count is at 87 named crayons and 69 true colors ever used up to this point in time.

 

Next up:  Part 9 - Crayola's Biggest Assortment Secret