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The Definitive History of the Colors of Crayola

Part 15 – Specialty Crayons

 

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, Part 10 - War Time Changes, Part 11 - Enter the No. 48, Part 12 - The 50s, Part 13 - The Revolutionary No. 64, Part 14 - The Consistent Years

 

No Changes to the core color line

 

From 1962 until 1990, if you had the No. 64, the fact remained, you essentially had the following color line up:  APRICOT, AQUAMARINE, BITTERSWEET, BLACK, BLUE, BLUE GRAY, BLUE GREEN, BLUE VIOLET, BRICK RED, BROWN, BURNT ORANGE, BURNT SIENNA, CADET BLUE, CARNATION PINK, COPPER, CORNFLOWER, FOREST GREEN, GOLD, GOLDENROD, GRAY, GREEN, GREEN BLUE, GREEN YELLOW, INDIAN RED, LAVENDER, LEMON YELLOW, MAGENTA, MAHOGANY, MAIZE, MAROON, MELON, MIDNIGHT BLUE, MULBERRY, NAVY BLUE, OLIVE GREEN, ORANGE, ORANGE RED, ORANGE YELLOW, ORCHID, PEACH, PERIWINKLE, PINE GREEN, PLUM, RAW SIENNA, RAW UMBER, RED, RED ORANGE, RED VIOLET, SALMON, SEA GREEN, SEPIA, SKY BLUE, SILVER, SPRING GREEN, TAN, THISTLE, TURQUOISE BLUE, VIOLET, VIOLET BLUE, VIOLET RED, WHITE, YELLOW, YELLOW GREEN, YELLOW ORANGE.

 

It was as if Crayola had made so many changes back in 1958 that they were now happy to stick with their decisions for some time.  Box and wrapper designs did change but not this core color assortment.  That doesn’t mean there weren’t other color impacts during these years.  One of the most revolutionary started with a new crayon product they introduced in 1972.

 

Fluorescents

Crayola Fluorescent Colors - 8 colors

For the first time ever Crayola introduced crayons that weren’t part of their standard color line but were still considered Crayola crayons.  The distinction was important because they had been offering up non-Crayola brands of crayons for as long as they had been making crayons.  Some of them served other purposes:  pastel and pressed crayons for artists, marking crayons for industry.  Some just served other markets such as brands to address the inexpensive low-end market, etc.  With the introduction of the Crayola Fluorescent assortment box containing eight new colors, they set upon a focus that hasn’t stopped to this day; that of the specialty crayon.  These were crayons that were something more than just a straight color in one of their assortments.


The fluorescent crayons contain special pigments which “glow” under ultraviolet light.  Ultraviolet light is invisible to the human eye.  You can use something like a black-light bulb to produce UV of a frequency in the 3000-4000 angstrom range.  That has the most dramatic reaction with fluorescent materials and is called "longwave" UV.   UV lights are manufactured for a wide range of industrial and scientific applications such as medical, mineral and stamp recognition purposes.

 

There were actually several of Crayola’s colors in the past that had their own inherent fluorescent properties without formulating colors specifically for this purpose.  A couple examples are Yellow Green and Brilliant Rose; both of which glow under UV light; though not as strong as these new ones.

 

The first fluorescent boxes came in both regular and large size crayons but they both contained the following colors:  Chartreuse Fluorescent, Hot Magenta Fluorescent, Ultra Blue Fluorescent, Ultra Green Fluorescent, Ultra Orange Fluorescent, Ultra Pink Fluorescent, Ultra Red Fluorescent and Ultra Yellow Fluorescent

 

1972 Fluorescents

 

Looking at the color swatches laid down on regular white paper doesn’t give the impression of brilliant glowing colors.  In fact, they were difficult to lay down color as they were barely noticeable unless you happened to have a black light around to really see them glow.

 

Fluorescent (black wrappers)

 

The original crayons were put into a special black wrapper.  In 1973 they incorporated these eight new colors into the No. 72 by dropping the extra red, blue and blacks they had been filling in with.  This finally gave Crayola a true 72 color assortment box and their largest assortment in their history thus ending the fifteen year reign the No. 64 had with that honor.

 

Fluorescent (normal wrappers)

 

They didn’t bother to redesign a new No. 72 box but chose to place a red sticker advertising the new Fluorescent colors on it instead.

 

For the purposes of our color history, at the end of 1975 we had:

 

Chartreuse Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

Hot Magenta Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

Ultra Blue Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

hyphenated colorsUltra Green Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

Ultra Orange Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

Ultra Pink Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

Ultra Red Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

Ultra Yellow Fluorescent was a new name and true color.

 

So, from 1972 to 1975, this increased our overall named color count from 140 to 148 and our true color count from 108 to 116.  Active colors in use jumped up from 64 to 72.

 

Minor Changes

For all of you collectors striving for completeness, Crayola did make some minor changes to their “combination” colors in 1975 by adding a hyphen to all of them.  Prior to this change, they had been inconsistent with them.  Some carried the hyphen, others did not.

 

The following colors were all now hyphenated: 

 

Blue-gray, blue-green, blue-violet, green-blue, green-yellow, orange-red, orange-yellow, red-orange, red-violet, violet-blue, violet-red, yellow-green, yellow-orange

 

Another interesting minor variation introduced at the same time was the addition of “(purple)” to the color name for Violet.  If you’ve been doing your studying here you already knew that Violet and Purple had been originally used synonymously right from the very origins of the colors but by 1914 Violet won out as the default name for purple.  Apparently by the mid 1970s educational standards were already on the decline and Crayola opted to end the confusion by adding the reference to the fact that Violet is indeed Purple right on the crayon wrapper name.  Like most things in the Crayola world, the struggle didn’t end here and we’ll continue to see both uses throughout their color history.

 

As the color names didn’t really change, these minor variations are only recorded under the “Other Name Variations on Wrapper” section of our color list.

 

Fabrics

 

Crayola Craft Fabric - 8 colorsCrayola didn’t wait long to introduce another specialty crayon onto the market.  In 1976 they started up their new Crayola Craft line and with it they introduced an 8 color assortment of Fabric crayons.  These crayons were specifically designed for coloring on fabric materials and because of that their true colors when laid down on normal paper were surprisingly off from their named colors.  This also marked the very first time they carried the same named color on multiple Crayola crayons at the same time.  Granted, they weren’t in the family of their main assortments from the No. 6 up to the No. 72 but coloring with a “blue” crayon suddenly meant that there was more than one option.

 

Initially, Crayola offered the following colors:  blue, burnt sienna, light blue, green, orange, red, violet and yellow 

 

1976 Fabrics

 

Fabric (original box wrappers)

 

For the purposes of our color history, from 1976 to the end of 1979 we had:

 

Given that all of the Fabric colors were different but some shared the same named color already active, I’ve developed a convention to use brackets, <>, to help identify these colors to their specialty.

 

Blue had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Blue <Fabric>

Burnt Sienna had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Burnt Sienna <Fabric>

Light Blue was back with a new true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Light Blue <Fabric>

Green had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Green <Fabric>

Orange had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Orange <Fabric>

Red had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Red <Fabric>

Violet had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Violet <Fabric>

Yellow had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Yellow <Fabric>

 

Oh, and when they switched to the new lower case crayon wrappers they eliminated their odd spelling crayon:

 

Golden Rod was discontinued but its true color remained with the other name variation Goldenrod

 

So, from 1976 to 1979, our overall named color count stayed the same at 148 but our true color count jumped from 116 to 124.  Active named colors in use dropped one to 71 but active true colors jumped up from 72 to 80; a first ever where true colors exceeded named colors.

 

However, by 1980 they dropped Light Blue in favor of Black.  Once again, Light Blue ended as a short run color making every one of the three colors they used for this name difficult to obtain.

 

1980 Fabrics

 

Fabric (DTC wrappers)

 

There were no other color changes from 1980 to 1983 and so our color history had this impact during those years:

 

Black had a new second true color just for the Fabric crayons and got added as Black <Fabric>

Light Blue <Fabric> was discontinued in 1980.

 

From 1980 to 1982 the overall named color count stayed the same at 148 but our true color count jumped from 124 to 125.  Active colors in use remained at 71 named and 80 true.

 

Let’s take a look at the color list at the end of 1982:

 

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

Yes

 

 

1

125

Black

1903

1980

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

2

2

Blue

1903

1903

1935

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

True color renamed to Celestial Blue

2

66

Blue

1903

1935

1949

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

2

70

Blue

1903

1949

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

 

 

2

117

Blue

1903

1976

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

3

3

Brown

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Same color as Van Dyke Brown

4

4

Burnt Sienna

1903

1903

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

Bt. Sienna, Burnt-Sienna

 

4

118

Burnt Sienna

1903

1976

 

 

 

Yes

 

bt. sienna

Part of the Fabric specialty set

5

5

Burnt Umber

1903

1903

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

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, Pine 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, Goldenrod

13

13

Cobalt Blue

1903

1903

1958

Discontinued

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Blue; only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon 1935-1943; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

14

14

Copper

1903

1903

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

Unavailable between 1915 and 1958

15

15

Dark Blue

1903

1903

1917

Used as other name

Yes

 

No

 

Same color as Prussian Blue, Midnight Blue

16

8

Dark Green

1903

1903

1949

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Green Dark, Pine Green

16

71

Dark Green

1903

1949

1958

Used as other name

Yes

 

 

 

Same color as Forest Green 

17

16

English Vermillion

1903

1903

1935

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Eng. Vermillion, Eng. Vermilion

 

18

17

Flesh Tint

1903

1903

1949

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon starting 1935; Same color as Flesh, Pink Beige, Peach; Not available 1944 due to WWII

19

18

Gold

1903

1903

1953

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

1915-1943 only offered in Bulk; Not available 1944-1952 due to WWII

19

84

Gold

1903

1953

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

 

 

20

19

Gold Ochre

1903

1903

1958

Used as other name

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Golden Ochre, Maize

21

19

Golden Ochre

1903

1903

1910

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Gold Ochre, Maize

22

20

Green

1903

1903

1930

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

 

22

61

Green

1903

1930

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

 

22

119

Green

1903

1976

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

23

8

Green, Dark

1903

1903

1914

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Same color as Chrome Green, Dark; Dark Green; Pine 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

Yes

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

27

38

Lemon Yellow

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

 

Color name reused starting 1958, Same color as second Light Yellow

28

14

Light Blue

1903

1903

1917

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

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

28

85

Light Blue

1903

1958

1958

Discontinued

Yes

 

 

 

Only available for a small part of 1958

28

120

Light Blue

1903

1976

1980

Discontinued

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

29

11

Light Yellow

1903

1903

1949

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

Yellow Lt.; Lt. Yellow

Same color as Lemon Yellow, second Yellow, Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII;

29

38

Light Yellow

1903

1903

1958

Used as other Name

Yes

 

 

 

Same color as Yellow (true color 38) that it inherited in 1949, second Lemon Yellow

30

22

Madder Lake

1903

1903

1935

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

 

31

23

Magenta

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Same color as Permanent Magenta; Not available 1944 due to WWII

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

1958

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

Med. Yellow

Same color as Yellow, Medium; Chrome Yellow, Medium, Goldenrod, Golden Rod; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

34

24

Olive Green

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

35

25

Orange

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

35

121

Orange

1903

1976

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

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

1958

Used as other Name

Yes

 

Yes

Prus. Blue

Same color as Dark Blue, Midnight 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

 

 

41

86

Raw Sienna

1903

1958

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

 

Name revived 48 years after discontinuing it but with a new true color

42

30

Raw Umber

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

43

31

Red

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

43

122

Red

1903

1976

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

44

27

Rose Pink

1903

1903

1958

Used as other name

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Pink, Carnation Pink

45

32

Silver

1903

1903

 

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

1915-1943 offered only as bulk; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

46

33

Ultramarine Blue

1903

1903

1958

Discontinued

Yes

 

Yes

ULT. BLUE; Ult. Blue

Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII; not available 1949-1957

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

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Ven. Red

Only available in bulk as a named wrapper crayon from 1935-1937 Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

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

Yes

Violet (Purple) 

Same color as Purple; 1949-1957 used another true color but reverted back in 1958

51

123

Violet

1903

1976

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

51

72

Violet

1903

1949

1958

Switched true colors

Yes

 

 

 

 Same color as second Blue Violet

52

37

White

1903

1903

 

 

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

 

53

38

Yellow

1903

1903

1949

Switched true colors

Yes

 

Yes

 

Same color as Light Yellow (second one)

53

48

Yellow

1903

1926

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

 

Same color as Maximum Yellow

53

124

Yellow

1903

1976

 

 

 

Yes

 

 

Part of the Fabric specialty set

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

1949

Switched true colors

 

 

Yes

Lt. Green

Same color as Chrome Green, Light; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

55

73

Light Green

1910

1949

1958

Used as other name

Yes

 

 

 

Same color as Sea Green

56

39

Maximum Black

1926

1926

1935

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935

57

40

Maximum Blue

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

58

41

Maximum Blue Green

1926

1926

1949

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

Maximum Blue-Green

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Blue Green; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

59

42

Maximum Green

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

60

43

Maximum Green Yellow

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Maximum Green-Yellow

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

61

44

Maximum Purple

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

62

45

Maximum Purple Blue

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Maximum Purple-Blue

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

63

46

Maximum Red

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

64

47

Maximum Red Purple

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Maxmimum Red-Purple

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

65

48

Maximum Yellow

1926

1926

1949

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Gamboge Yellow, Yellow (second one); Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

66

49

Maximum Yellow Red

1926

1926

1949

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

Middle Yellow-Red

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Yellow Orange; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

67

50

Middle Blue

1926

1926

1949

Used as other Name

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII; Same color as Light Turquoise Blue, same color as Aquamarine

68

51

Middle Blue Green

1926

1926

1958

Used as other name

Yes

 

Yes

Middle Blue-Green

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII, same color as second Blue Green

69

52

Middle Grey

1926

1926

1949

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Same color as Neutral Gray, Gray; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

70

53

Middle Green

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

71

54

Middle Green Yellow

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Middle Green-Yellow

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

72

55

Middle Purple

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

73

56

Middle Purple Blue

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Middle Purple-Blue

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

74

57

Middle Red

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

75

58

Middle Red Purple

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

Middle Red-Purple

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

76

59

Middle Yellow

1926

1926

1949

Discontinued

 

 

Yes

 

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII

77

60

Middle Yellow Red

1926

1926

1949

Used as other name

 

 

Yes

Middle Yellow-Red

Munsell wrappers used prior to 1935; Not available 1944-1948 due to WWII; Same color as Medium Orange

78

40

Blue Green

1930

1930

1958

Switched true colors

Yes

 

 

Blue-Green

Same color as Maximum Blue

78

51

Blue Green

1930

1926

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

blue-green

Same color as Middle Blue Green

79

62

Blue Violet

1930

1930

1958

Switched true colors

Yes

 

 

Blue-Violet

Same color as Violet Blue

79

72

Blue Violet

1930

1949

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

blue-violet

Same color as second Violet

80

52

Neutral Gray

1930

1926

1956

Used as other Name

Yes

 

 

Neutral-Gray

Same color as Middle Grey, Gray

81

63

Red Orange

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

Red-Orange

 

82

64

Red Violet

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

Red-Violet

 

83

65

Yellow Green

1930

1930

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

Yellow-Green

 

84

49

Yellow Orange

1930

1930

1958

Switched true colors

Yes

 

 

Yellow-Orange

Same color as Maximum Yellow Red

84

87

Yellow Orange

1930

1958

 

 

Yes

Yes

 

 

 

85

67

Carmine

1935

1935

1949

Used as other Name