No these are not really Crayola crayons!

When a brand gets big enough, you can bet somebody, somewhere will take advantage of that without the authority to do so.

Case in point, Crayola is such a global name in the world of crayons that they are ripe targets for those wanting to capitalize on that for a quick buck.


So I guess it was no surprise when I saw these on a Mexico online sight.  And of course, the collector in me wants a box just for the novelty!  

The Original Mock-Up Prototype Box for the Crayola No 72 line from 1957/58

One of the most interesting Crayola boxes from my collection was this prototype mock-up submitted for the initial box that would become the No 72 line.  


This was in 1957/58 and at a time when the Crayola No 64 was debuting.  That was the largest assortment box ever for Crayola.  This added another 8 crayons on top of that.  There were repeat colors in the box though so it didn't truly add up to 72 distinct colors but still...it would be their largest crayon box to date.

The mock up box is fun.  First of all, it has an actual multipage coloring book attached to the front of it.  The pages are blank on the mock up.  I don't know if they intended anything else because this feature never made it to the initial retail designed box.

Other differences is that the house is on the right.  Also, inside is a styrofoam case that holds each crayon into two rows of 36 crayons.  This appears to be hand made.

Another interesting observation is that this prototype includes the appearance of the rare "Light Blue" color.  This wasn't in the actual retail version.  So, just like the No 64 where that color was only in the earliest version and quickly removed, this prototype probably used what was available at that time even though later that color was removed from Crayola's palette of colors by the time this went to retail.


This is the first retail version of the box.  Notice that the house was moved over to the left side after they removed the coloring book.  Also notice that they added a dog on a leash to fill in the space left behind from the coloring book.  The Chimney got moved to the left side and the picket fence and bush were removed.  The outline of the house went from red to green and white.  They kept the small window but looking in to it you can see that they didn't go with the styrofoam holder for the crayons.  They are merely stacked onto cardboard shelving instead.  Probably a cost saver.  Gone are the entire design piece on the prototype box that was on the left side and they redid the Crayola name piece by removing the whole "Let's Color With" which I thought was unique.


After that version they quickly moved to a version with a much wider house version that showcased a much larger window.  They also revisited adding an activity book but inside of the box, not on the outside.  This version is much easier to obtain than its predecessor while the prototype is a one-of-a-kind.


Eventually they morphed those early designs into the more familiar white box with the children on them.  There were a couple of versions of this and even some foreign variations.  The line continued but morphed into the popular boxes with the plastic crayon holders that collectors like to have (they make good individual crayon color display cases).

It's always exciting as a collector to have obtained a small piece of Crayola history... something you wouldn't think would ever leave the Crayola property and yet did.  I was honored to have owned it.


The Real Tale of the Color "Flesh"

Strange, but I thought I had told this tale in it's completion but going through my blog posts, articles and documentation on my website, apparently I never did completely do so.  So here goes...


The tale of the infamous Crayola color doesn't start with the picture above and the renaming to "Peach".  It begins much earlier.  Back to the origins of Crayola in 1903 when they put together their initial colors and dispersed those out into a number of boxed containers.  At that time they had 38 original colors.  "Flesh Tint" was one of those and that was the original name used for this color.

The color was available in their No 51 box but those crayons didn't have the color names on the wrappers.  They instead published a crayon number and you had to look at the box where they had the names associated with each number.


They did put the color on an original crayon but it was on the Rubens Crayola line.  The color names weren't put lengthwise down the crayon wrapper though.  The design of the Ruben's Crayola called for it to wrap around the crayon instead.  Here's an original Flesh Tint crayon:


You could actually find "Flesh Tint" in the following Crayola boxes:  No 51 (see picture above), the No 47, the No 24 Rubens Crayola and the Number 500 Ruben's Crayola (which is the only version in a larger crayon size).


As time went on, they dropped the No 47, No 51 and Rubens Crayola No 500 from their line up.  This meant that the Rubens Crayola No 24 was the ONLY box you could find "Flesh Tint" in up until 1939.  The Rubens Crayola line was merged into the Crayola line in 1935 but it didn't include "Flesh Tint" when they changed over.  That means that "Flesh Tint" simply wasn't available from 1935 to 1939 in any crayon box.  It might have been possible to purchase them in bulk however.  

In 1939 they introduced the No 52 box.  This was a seminal box of 52 colors that incorporated all of their colors along with their recently acquired Munsell colors.  In doing so, they also added back "Flesh Tint". So, from 1939 to 1944 you could find the color only in this box.  This was the first and only time you could find that color name on a modern serpentine crayon wrapper.


Again, from 1944 to 1949, Crayola had no boxes for sale with "Flesh Tint".

In 1949 they debuted the No 48 box with 48 colors.  At the same time, they tweaked the color line up in their No 24 box to re-introduce "Flesh".  It hadn't been in there since 1935 when it was still Rubens Crayola No 24.  It was during this introduction of the No 48 that they changed the name by dropping the "Tint" part of it to simply "Flesh"


From 1949 until 1956, "Flesh" continued to be included in the No 24 and No 48 boxes exclusively.  But in 1956, a strange thing occurred.  They renamed "Flesh" to "Pink Beige".  No announcements, no fan-fare, no reason ever told.  It was short-lived too because they switched it back to "Flesh" almost immediately afterward.  Even stranger, it was never put into the No 24 even though "Flesh" was a part of that color line up.


After naming it back to "Flesh", it survived under that color name up until 1962 when it was changed to "Peach".


The change to "Peach" was primarily initiated by a wonderful woman named June Handler with whom a gentleman named Marc Dollinger contacted me about.  I corresponded with her back and forth in 2014 when she was 91! She was doing doctoral research back then on "An Attempt to change kindergarten children's attitudes of prejudice toward the negro". She had always been concerned about black/white prejudice, especially in young children. In her abstract, the children who were five would make derogatory remarks about those who were black and she tried to help them understand prejudice and what it does. 


At that time Crayola had "flesh" which was kind of pinkish and some of the white children would taunt some of the black children with "you don't have flesh". She wrote Crayola and explained the situation and what it did to young children. She suggested they change the name. And they did...almost immediately (this took effect in 1962). 

They used her words in their museum where they show the crayons that had changed over the years (Flesh, Prussian Blue, Indian Red). Her son arranged a visit to Crayola later and even the President of Crayola came and thanked her and presented her with a huge box of crayons, all with their new name. Of course, Crayola still uses a generic reasoning of "because of the civil rights movement" but it was really June that lobbied them to do so. 

Sadly, June passed away in November, 2017 at the age of 94.  I felt very honored and fortunate to have met and learned the real story from her.

Crayola's New Travel Packs for 2018

In 2018 Crayola continued their use of licensed characters and put out a set of travel pack containers.  There are currently 5 that I know of.  I don't know if there will be more or this is it.  As with most things Crayola, I couldn't find a single source showing all these.  It took a bit of investigation to come up with all of these.

Each set contains six regular sized Washable Crayola crayons along with activity sheets for coloring, etc.  There are no new colors here but they do have different colors in them although I do not know what colors are in each yet.  If anyone knows one or all, please let me know!  Thanks.


The travel packs consist of:

1. Regular Tip.  This is Crayola's mascot they have used since the late 1980s on various crayon containers.

2. Disney Princess.  This has Mulan, Belle and Jasmine from the Disney animated movies.

3. Paw Patrol.  This is a Nickelodeon cartoon with three characters featured.

4. Marvel Avengers.  Four super heroes are featured on this.

5. Shopkins.  Five of the shopkin characters are featured on this.

The French Crayola Coloring Books Complete with Crayolas

Crayola is a global company.  For those of you that reside and collect in the United States, there is a lot going on internationally that you may not be aware of.  Case in point, over 2016 and 2017 the French publishing company of Editions Grund (began in 1880) partnered with Crayola and began publishing a series of illustrated coloring books that contained six Crayola crayons in a pouch mounted on the front of each coloring book.



The crayons contained in each publication are different (although I did notice that two of them appear to have identical colors).  As I do not have these personally, I am not sure which colors exactly are in each publication but obviously they were chosen based on the illustrations.

Let's take a closer look:

Crayola, Le Cirque (the circus):



Illustrated by French illustrator, Alice Turquois Zaza, this one came out in August, 2016.  Alice is an accomplished illustrator who studied at Lycee Choiseul in Tours, France where she still lives and works.

Here are a couple of sample coloring pages from it:




Crayola, Le Engins (Machines):



Illustrated by Italian illustrator, Laura Desiree Pozzi, this one came out in April, 2016.  Laura is an accomplished illustrator who studied at the University of Balogna and did illustration study at the School of Applied Arts of Castello Sforzesco, Milan.  She is currently an artist in residence at the Maison des Auteurs in Angouleme, Italy.

Crayola, A' La Ferme (On the Farm):



Illustrated by Korean illustrator, Sejung Kim, this one came out in April, 2016.  Sejung is an accomplished illustrator who currently lives in Paris, France.

Crayola, Animaux rigolos (Funny animals):



Illustrated by Brittany illustrator, Corinne LOemerle, this one came out in August, 2016.  Corinne is an accomplished illustrator who still lives and publishes from Brittany.

Here are a sample coloring page from it:



Crayola, A' la mer (At the sea):


Illustrated by French illustrator, Marianne Dupuy-Sauze, this one came out in April, 2016.  Marianne is an accomplished illustrator who still lives and publishes from France.


Crayola, Princes et princesses (Princes & Princesses):


Illustrated by French illustrator, Patricia Lucas (Miss Posca), this one came out in early 2017.  Patricia is an accomplished illustrator who still lives and publishes from Paris, France.

Here are a couple of sample coloring pages from it:





Crayola, La Jungle (The Jungle):



Illustrated by French illustrator, Melanie Grandgirard, this one came out in April 2016.  Melanie is an accomplished illustrator who still lives and publishes from France and work with Good Illustration Agency.

Here are a couple of sample coloring pages from it:









Yes, there are many interesting things going on in other countries if you are interested in collecting everything Crayola.  I have no doubt these will become rarer and rarer as time goes on.

Lot of New Boxes from Crayola thanks to the Retirement and Introduction of Colors

Well, with all the frenzy around 2017's announcement of the retirement of the color Dandelion and then the contest to name the new blue color and then the announcement of the new color Bluetiful and the introduction at the end of 2017 and into 2018, it has been a good time for crayon box collectors (and color collectors too).

First of all, we gained three new boxes for the contest.


Then we gained a whole bunch more boxes to introduce the new blue color.




Of course, the way they generate all of this publicity comes at the cost of losing a color from their catalog which to me seems a bit silly.  Really?  You have to get rid of a color to introduce a new color?  I guess only so many will fit in each container though so clearly they had to remove a color...but why remove it from the entire spectrum of boxes and bulk orders?

It is interesting to note that they chose only 3 boxes to use for the naming but 5 for the introduction and the 3 from Canada and then the Color Collection.  Of course, they skipped the No 48 box which should also have the new color.  Such are the mysteries of crayon collecting.

Once upon a time another crayon company stole Crayola's look and feel

It doesn't matter how advanced your collection gets, there is always something out there that you didn't know about and have never seen.  Case in point, even though my collection had over 60,000 crayons in it, I got an email from Phyllis Tompkins a fellow collector the other day who had found my website and wrote to share her own collection.  She had been collecting far longer than I had; nearly 30 years.  And although her collection was small in comparison to mine (I was aggressive and obsessive in my pursuit of crayons), it had a number of great boxes that I had never seen before.  I was impressed.

One of my favorite discoveries in her collection was a different crayon brand by Bliss Crayon & Color Works.  Other than also being headquartered in New York, I could never find out anything about this company.  Nothing other than the single crayon box I had in my collection.  But it was a great one.  The drawing on the back was terrific; something that most boxes don't have.  

  

For years I had what I believed to be the one surviving example of a crayon box by this company.  Still, having collected for a long time, I knew that usually doesn't stay that way forever.

Sure enough, she had a box of Crayobar crayons from the same company!  What I find especially interesting is that this box looks strikingly like the Crayola No 16 box that they put out from 1928 to 1932.



It makes for an interesting debate on whether or not they stole and capitalized on Crayola's success by using their look and feel without violating copyright laws.  Clearly Bliss Crayon & Color Works didn't steal Crayola's trademark name although their name is fairly similar.  Clearly their box has different features.  They have a window; Crayola didn't at this time in their history.  But the design around the "Crayobar" vs "Crayola", the opening tab design, the lined border and even the same color as Crayola sure shows that they were trying to capitalize on Crayola's look and feel.  At this point in Crayola's history they had already gained significant momentum in their quest for crayon domination.  Their branding efforts for a look and feel were instrumental in their success along with other factors (quality, price point, etc.).

If I saw this lying on a desk, at a quick glance I wouldn't necessarily have even noticed that it wasn't Crayola.  I wonder how much, if any, this tactic helped in their sales.

But even beyond this curiosity, this box helps provide a little more information on the crayon company.  The only thing I had going before the discovery of Phyllis's box was that based on the drawings and design of the box, it was clearly prior to 1950.  But with a patent pending on Crayobar and a trademark, now I could look those up.  Even if I couldn't find anything on them I do have the logical deduction that this would have been during the exact same time frame that Crayola put out this particular box design and that I had already clearly documented.

Alas, searching old trademarks and patents isn't easy.  Nothing came up under the Trademark database and there is no search capability in the patents for one that old.  I would have to go through an image of each on submitted within those years.  That is a bit too laborious for even me.  So, all I know now is that this company producted both Bliss crayons and Crayobar crayons and they were in business sometime from probably 1929 up to an unknown date.  This is how I help document the history of the crayon, one bit of information at a time.  Some mysteries are slower to solve than others.  But it still feels like you are a sort of private eye...