Lesson #11: Wild Blue Yonder

By Wild Blue Yonder, I mean the crayon colour, not the US Air Force. Let’s be honest, the crayon colour is blue-grey, but they have retired the name in favour of, well, Wild Blue Yonder.

I am not fooled, Crayola!

Two quick tidbits about crayons: 1. By the age of 10, the average child will have worn down 730 crayons.* 2. According to a study done by Yale University sometime before November of 1999**, crayons are the 18th most recognizable scent to American adults.

About crayons: As we know them, crayons were invented by Crayola and are made of paraffin wax, but the first modern crayons, however, were made of charcoal and oil and have their roots in Europe. Crayola emerged as a result of teachers whinging about the quality of slate chalk in the US and the coinciding rise of wax crate and barrel markers being used in warehouses. Chemists decided that adapting the pigmentation of the (then only black) wax crayons used in warehouses would probably result in fun coloured things to draw with and…ta-da! Wax crayons!  There was the minor detail of making the pigment non-toxic before they could be marketed to children, but science prevailed and in 1903 Crayola’s 8 pack was introduced at 5 cents/pack. Today, Crayola markets 120 colours, including “23 reds, 20 greens, 19 blues, 16 purples, 14 oranges, 11 browns, 8 yellows, 2 grays, 2 blacks, 2 coppers, 1 silver, 1 white and 1 gold.”*** Nearly 3 billion Crayola crayons are produced every year.

*If by “worn down” they also mean eaten, stepped on, let melt and/or used as a projectile, I believe that.

**I can’t find the study, but there’s a fantastic article about crayons (including how they’re made) in the November 1999 issue of Smithsonian Magazine, which can be accessed here.

***As always, quoted text and more information can be found here. In this case you’re going to have to do a little digging because the file opens in Word. On the right sidebar, under the “About Crayola” section there’s the link to the History of Crayons. If you want to do more reading, go there. Honestly, though, the Smithsonian article is better reading.

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One thought on “Lesson #11: Wild Blue Yonder

  1. Corinna says:

    Quite possibly my favorite Sesame Street clip of all time:

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