Crayon in Tagalog is called “krayola,” which came from the famous brand, Crayola Crayons. Aside from watercolor, crayons are well-loved art tools by elementary school children all over the world, including the Philippines. Surprisingly, some professional artists such as Kristina Nelson of Minnesota also use crayons for their artworks.
The exact origin of the crayon is unknown. Nonetheless, the earliest known predecessors of crayons can be traced back to ancient Egypt, around 3,000 BCE. During that era, people used a mixture of beeswax and colored pigments to create drawings on walls. During the Middle Ages, colored wax was used for encaustic painting on various surfaces.
The word “crayon” is French and it means “chalk pencil”, a writing tool that was invented in the 16th century. Crayons have the same purpose and some similar ingredients as colored pencils. Both of them are a combination of binders, pigment, and wax, but crayons are softer and contain more wax. Crayons also don’t need sharpening.
Also unlike colored pencils, crayons are more true to their colors and are cheaper. On the other hand, colored pencils are more precise than crayons. And because crayons are softer, they easily get broken. They also make your hand dirty and are not that great for drawing. In short, crayons and colored pencils have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Meanwhile, Crayola is the world’s most famous brand of crayons. Formerly named Binney & Smith Company, it was founded by cousins Edwin Binney and Charles Harold Smith in 1885. The company was then located in New York City and started as a producer of various industrial pigments, colors, and inexpensive black colorants for tires.
Binney, with the help of his wife, Alice, developed his own product line of wax crayons and called it Crayola. The name “Crayola” was a combination of the French word “craie” (chalk) and “ola” (oleaginous, meaning oily). The first Crayola had eight crayon colors and was introduced in June 1903 and became an instant hit.
In 1904, Binney & Smith released the Crayola with 16 different colors. The company increased the Crayola to 52 colors in 1939 but reduced it to 48 colors in 1949. In 1958, Crayola Crayons introduced the iconic box, which featured 64 colors and a built-in sharpener. Today, Crayola Crayons is still very popular among students, including Filipino children.