A Crayola History

Where have all the colors gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the colors gone?
Long time ago.

Prussian Blue and Indian Red,
Blue Gray, Maize, and Green Blue.
Orange Red, Orange Yellow,
Flesh and Violet Blue,
Raw Umber and Mulberry too.
Long time passing. Long time ago.

Crayola’s first eight cost but a nickel,
presented in 1905.
Children were thrilled and color they did,
using Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue,
Black, Brown, Violet and Orange
Kids today need more to be tempted.

Enter Cerulean, Dandelion,
Fuschia and Bluetiful too.
Most clever and tastiest yet?
Yummy Jazzberry Jam.
My rose-colored glasses enjoy these hues
but one new color does confuse.

Ready for it? You’ll never guess.
It’s a bit strange, I do confess,
guaranteed to make you squirm.
The newest? And I do confirm,
it really, unbelievably is Inch Worm!

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets from around the globe where today Mish asks us to write from the perspective of colors. I’ve kind of gone off the beaten track with this…..but here’s some added history:
Cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith introduced the first box of Crayolas in 1905 and yes, they did cost a nickel. Over the years color names have come and gone….some in relation to societal attitudes. The color Flesh became Peach in 1962. Prussian Blue was introduced in 1949 but, figuring young children didn’t know anything about Prussia, it was changed to Midnight Blue in 1958. Indian Red was introduced in 1958 and it actually referred to a pigment that originated in India. The color’s name was changed to Chestnut in 1999….but soon after, a disclaimer was made warning children not to try to roast the color or any crayons over an open fire because they would melt and children could be burned. I suppose this warning was in reference to Nat King Cole’s popular The Christmas Song which opened with the line “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” And yes, Inch Worm is a real Crayola color!

I should also add, apologies to Peter, Paul and Mary for changing the words of their popular song, Where Have all the Flowers Gone. Image from Pixabay.com Information on the history of Crayolas mainly from the article “5 Times Crayola Retired Its Crayons” by Paul Davidson and from Wikipedia.

18 thoughts on “A Crayola History

  1. The Abject Muse February 16, 2021 / 5:10 pm

    Very clever, Lillian. I loved to color when I was kid. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nancy Jahnke February 16, 2021 / 5:36 pm

    Entertaining poetry! Of course with my “intellectual level”, crayons do impress!

    Sent from my iPhone



  3. sanaarizvi February 16, 2021 / 5:54 pm

    Ohh I remember those! My sister and I used to spend all day with them in the living room (we’d color the walls too much to my mother’s discomfort) a most heartfelt write, Lillian ❤️❤️


  4. Glenn A. Buttkus February 16, 2021 / 6:19 pm

    What a wondrous ride through outsider hues and shards of the past. I think the 48 crayolas appeal to the parents more than the kids. My grandchildren just randomly grab colors, and don’t try to match or identify them.


  5. Mish February 16, 2021 / 6:48 pm

    There is nothing like a full set of Crayolas. I was always intrigued by the different shades and names and I do wonder if kids today appreciate them as much. Thanks for sharing some of the history behind them.


  6. Ron. February 16, 2021 / 10:03 pm

    There’s variety alright, but they all taste just the same. Yummy write, Lillian.


  7. Tricia Sankey February 17, 2021 / 12:20 am

    The history with the names is so interesting, especially as the crayons changed over the years with our culture. This was a fun, vivid, read! 🖍


  8. kim881 February 17, 2021 / 4:28 am

    Your poem reminded me of that wonderful children’s book The Day The Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by my favourite Oliver Jeffers. It’s one of my favourite books to read with children. So you can understand why I fell in love with your poem, Lill. I love how you riffed on the Pete Seeger song (I always loved the Joan Baez version) and the way the colours tumbled into the poem like a packet of crayons. I still have Crayola crayons, most of them as good as new, which I plan to use with Lucas, hopefully soon. I can’t imagine a colour called Inch Worm – but I do know the Danny Kaye song! And thank you for the background history.


  9. Ingrid February 17, 2021 / 5:07 am

    A colourful poem and a fascinating potted (sorry) history of crayola crayons. There was a boy in my class at school who ate crayons, so no doubt he would have tried to roast them too, had the thought occurred!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. abigfatcanofworms February 17, 2021 / 5:24 am

    Gorgeous! I loved the interweaving of history and the listing of such wonderful colours and then the end with the astonishing inch worm. And, in reference to Ingrid’s comment, I had a goat that ate my crayons when I was perhaps 5. Is it funnier to see a goat with a blue mouth or then inadvertently dance with her as you try to pull her off the table?


  11. anotherkatewilson February 17, 2021 / 6:08 am

    Beautiful! I love this! When I was a kid I loved crayons, and when I was pregnant I had cravings for them. 🙂


  12. robtkistner February 17, 2021 / 10:51 am

    Loved this rainbow ride Lillian — well written! 🙂


  13. rothpoetry February 17, 2021 / 11:44 am

    Inch worm green or inch worm brown? Seems we are never satisfied. We always want more… something New and Improved as the old TV commercials used to say. I love your poem and the memory of colors in the Crayola Box!


  14. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) February 17, 2021 / 2:58 pm

    I like all those fancy names of color… and I can really understand with names like that there has to be a fashion element as well.


  15. wideeyedwanderingspoonie February 17, 2021 / 5:58 pm

    What a fun read. Never knew that about Prussian Blue, I just assumed the color fell out of favor, man I LOVED Prussian Blue. Love it when I learn something new! 🙂


  16. purplepeninportland February 17, 2021 / 8:37 pm

    I loved opening a new box of crayons. I could smell them in your poem.
    What could “inchworm” possible look like?


  17. Dora February 18, 2021 / 12:51 pm

    What an entertaining entrance into the Crayola world of colorful history – Enjoyed this!



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