The Suitcase Lady


September 26, 2017, 8:48 pm

Americans will fight over anything these days, so it should come as no surprise that a crayon is under attack.

The crayon that has unleashed a torrent of protest is a delightful shade of blue and has replaced the now retired color “Dandelion” in the 24 pack of Crayolas. Dandelion did get to go on a retirement tour before leaving the box forever.

The newest addition to the Crayola family is named “Bluetiful”. The name resulted from an online naming contest and got 40% of the vote beating out four contenders.

As soon as Bluetiful made its debut, Twitter lighted up with criticism. One of my favorites was, “The dumbing down of the U.S. continues as Crayola replaces ‘Dandelion’ with ‘Bluetiful’. 90,000 submissions and they picked one that’s not a color, object or word.”

I concur but will stay calm. This a minor dumbing down of our young people in comparison to what the advertising media and textbooks published in Texas are doing to our kids every day.

So in the spirit of not dumbing you, the reader, down, here are some interesting facts about Crayola crayons.

The new brilliant blue Crayola color was an accidental discovery by Oregon State University chemists. The scientists were heating up chemicals in an attempt to find new materials for use in electronics. Serendipitously, one of the chemical mixes came out of the furnace a striking blue. The pigment was named Yin Mn from the elements it is made of: yytrium, indium, manganese and oxygen.

The Crayola Company was best positioned to bring Yin Mn to market. They have been making crayons since 1903.

The Company was originally founded in 1885 by two cousins, Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith. They originally produced pigments for industrial use, their most popular items being iron oxide pigments for red barn paint and carbon black chemicals to make tires black.

In 1900 they began manufacturing slate school pencils and then went on to invent the first dustless white chalk. The development of their famous product line of wax crayons followed, and it was a collaboration of Edwin Binney and his wife Alice Binney, a former schoolteacher.

The Crayola name was also invented by Alice Binney. It comes from ‘craie’, French for chalk and ‘ola’ for oleaginous or oily. It should be noted that the suffix ‘ola’ was popular at that time giving America in quick succession granola, pianola, Victrola, Shinola and Mazola.

Over 100 years later, Crayolas are still thriving, and that is beautiful.

Photo: ABC News

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