Crayons during War Time



As the modern day crayon has been around in decorative packaging since the late 1800s, I have to wonder what impact the war had on the crayon world.  Every other segment of society was impacted, why not crayons?

Sure, you'd think it unlikely that crayons sold to kids would bear any evidence of the war but in reality, they did.  My Cadet crayon box clearly shows a canon and a military outfit camp.  This is most likely a representation of a military prior to World War One given the age of the product.


World War Two created a lot of propoganda onto the market in order to support the war efforts.  Everything from war bonds to movie promotions.  Even crayons were affected as we can see from these examples.  The interesting thing to note about the one in the lower right is that Japan too did propoganda boxes to support their war effort.  So in effect, there are examples from both sides of the war effort in that photo.

Character crayons were quite popular and Popeye was a mainstay among crayon boxes for several manufacturers.  So who better to portray War support than the ex-Navy cartoon character himself!  That's quite a statement to portray firing crayons in a surface to air missile during the war.  Those were different times though.


A lot of the war effort boxes portrayed fighter jets in some way or another.



But World War Two didn't only impact some of the packaging.  The color sources for a lot of the pigments were either severed or eliminated.  Crayola went from having over 50 colors to dropping down to only 24 colors; their lowest level in the history of their company.  They didn't get some of their colors re-sourced until the early 1950s and several of them changed the color because they were probably from a new source.

Yes, wars impact even crayons.

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