If you mix the French word for chalk "craie" with the English word "oleaginous", meaning oily, you get crayola. That is how Mrs. Binney came up with the name Crayola for the wax sticks that her husband Edwin Binney co-invented with C. Harold Smith back in 1903. Originally, a package of crayons came with only eight colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown and black and cost a nickel. Grant Wood, a famous American painter, entered a colouring contest held by Crayola in the early 1900's which inspired him to enter the field of art. In 1930, he painted "American Gothic", now a cultural icon. Imagine how many potential artists were formed thanks to these colourful wax sticks. Today, Crayola makes over 100 different types including crayons that sparkle, glow in the dark and smell like flowers. Every child can identify with crayons; in fact, apparently the smell of crayons is number 18 of the 20 most recognizable scents according to Americans. And it all started with a dream shared by two cousins from New York state named Binney and Smith.*
*Source: "Crayola Trivia", Banner magazine, November 2011.
Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic" courtesy http://en.wikipedia.org/.