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The Definitive History of the Colors of Crayola

Part 10 – War Time 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, Part 8 - New Assortments Equals New Color Changes, Part 9 - Crayola's Biggest Assortment Secret

 

World War Two

 

In 1941, as the United States embarked into WWII, Crayola decided to make a color change in their set of hexagon crayons that they used for some of their standard assortments such as the No. 16.  Even though Crayola debuted the hex crayon clear back in 1937, it didn’t impact their color history because they used the same wrappers that the standard round crayons got.  However, in making this change to their yellow only on the hex version, they introduced a new color name to their history.

 

Gamboge Yellow was only available in the hex crayon and only during this timeframe.  By 1945 it was gone.  It was actually the Maximum Yellow true color; a sneak preview of changes to come several years later.

 

Gamboge Yellow 1941.jpg

 

By 1944 Crayola too was being impacted by the war.  There was a shortage of colors (probably inability to get the source pigmentations to make any) and Crayola was forced to have Crayola’s biggest color assortment offering dwindle back down to only 24 colors.  First they discontinued the No. 52 and then they discontinued the No. 332; their two biggest assortments.  That left the No. 24 and 241 as their largest assortment boxes.  But even there they had to make some changes as they were essentially down to only having 24 colors available in either assortments or through bulk orders.  The war impacted them that much and for the first time some of their mainstay colors were not available.

 

In addition to discontinuing their largest two assortments, they also discontinued their No. 12M and No. 241M.  With the Munsell assortment boxes gone and the No. 52 discontinued that eliminated all of the colors from the original Munsell list.  They also discontinued the original Munsell color wheel.  While all of these were sighted as “temporary” in their 1944 catalog, the reality was that the war permanently left its own mark on Crayola’s color history as many of the colors didn’t come back or were changed.  Let’s look at the impact the war had by looking at what colors were impacted with all of their changes:

 

Burnt Umber wasn’t available due to war shortages

Celestial Blue again got discontinued with the elimination of the No. 52 assortment

 

The following colors weren’t available in assortments or bulk due to war shortages:

Cobalt Blue, Flesh Tint, Gold, Indian Red, Light Yellow, Magenta, Medium Yellow, Raw Umber, Silver, Ultramarine Blue, Venetian Red, Light Green, Maximum Blue, Maximum Blue Green, Maximum Green, Maximum Green Yellow, Maximum Purple, Maximum Purple Blue, Maximum Red, Maximum Red Purple, Maximum Yellow, Maximum Yellow Red, Middle Blue, Middle Blue Green, Middle Grey, Middle Green, Middle Green Yellow, Middle Purple, Middle Purple Blue, Middle Red, Middle Red Purple, Middle Yellow, Middle Yellow Red, Sepia, Carmine, Gamboge Yellow

 

And for the first time their named and true color active count equals out at 24 colors; a first ever drop of total colors from their original 38 colors back in 1903.

 

So, we add another entry to Crayola’s largest assortment list:

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)

1939 – 1944, 52 colors (compliments of the No. 52)

1945 – 1949, 24 colors (compliments of the No. 24,241)

 

Let’s take a look at the list as of 1944:

 

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, Burnt-Sienna

 

5

5

Burnt Umber

1903

1903

1944

Temporary shortage

 

 

Yes

 

WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

6

6

Celestial Blue

1903

1903

1910

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Only found in No. 51 box

6

2

Celestial Blue

1903

1903

1944

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Reused color name for orig. 1903 Blue color; only found in No. 52 box

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Blue; only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon 1935-1943; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

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

 

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon starting 1935

19

18

Gold

1903

1903

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

1915-1943 only offered in Bulk; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

Yes

 

Yes

Yellow Lt.; Lt. Yellow

Same color as Lemon Yellow; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

30

22

Madder Lake

1903

1903

1935

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

 

31

23

Magenta

1903

1903

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Permanent Magenta; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

32

10

Medium Green

1903

1903

1939

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Med. Green

Same color as Green, Medium; Chrome Green, Medium; 1935-1939 only avail in long crayon size in No. 99

33

12

Medium Yellow

1903

1903

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Med. Yellow

Same color as Yellow, Medium; Chrome Yellow, Medium; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

34

24

Olive Green

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

Yes

 

Yes

 

WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

43

31

Red

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

44

27

Rose Pink

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Pink

45

32

Silver

1903

1903

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

46

33

Ultramarine Blue

1903

1903

1944

Temporary Shortage

Yes

 

Yes

ULT. BLUE; Ult. Blue

WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Ven. Red

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon from 1935-1937; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Blue Green; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

58

41

Maximum Blue Green

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Maximum Blue-Green

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

59

42

Maximum Green

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

60

43

Maximum Green Yellow

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Maximum Green-Yellow

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

61

44

Maximum Purple

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

62

45

Maximum Purple Blue

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Maximum Purple-Blue

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

63

46

Maximum Red

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

64

47

Maximum Red Purple

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Maxmimum Red-Purple

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

65

48

Maximum Yellow

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Gamboge Yellow; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

66

49

Maximum Yellow Red

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Middle Yellow-Red

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935;; Same color as Yellow Orange; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

67

50

Middle Blue

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

68

51

Middle Blue Green

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Middle Blue-Green

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

69

52

Middle Grey

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Neutral Gray; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

70

53

Middle Green

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

71

54

Middle Green Yellow

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Middle Green-Yellow

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

72

55

Middle Purple

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

73

56

Middle Purple Blue

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Middle Purple-Blue

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

74

57

Middle Red

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

75

58

Middle Red Purple

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Middle Red-Purple

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

76

59

Middle Yellow

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

77

60

Middle Yellow Red

1926

1926

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

Middle Yellow-Red

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

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

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

86

68

Sepia

1935

1935

1944

Temporary Shortage

 

 

Yes

 

WWII forced shortage starting in 1944

87

69

Turquoise Blue

1935

1935

 

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

88

48

Gamboge Yellow

1941

1903

1944

Used as Other Name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Maximum Yellow; used only on hex; color name dropped during WWII shortage even though yellow was still available

 

Our overall count is at 88 named crayons and 69 true colors ever used up to this point in time.

 

Next up:  Part 11 - Enter the No. 48