Nearly 120 Years After Their Debut, Crayola’s Iconic Crayons are Still Made in USA

By Bradley Laas
Aug 11 2022 |
Crayola Crayons are an essential Back to School item, and they’re still American-made. Photo by chrismetcalfTV via Creative Commons

The company’s manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania support 1,200 jobs and a number of community endeavors in the Keystone State.

Back to school season is here, and that means families across the country are stocking up on supplies. We’ve written a handful of Made in America Back to School guides over the years, but this time around, we’re taking a look at the gold standard for kid’s coloring material: Crayola.

The Pennsylvania company is one of the most recognized brands for back-to-school coloring supplies, and Crayola crayons are often ranked as the best overall crayons.

“Crayola is very much an American brand ~ an icon that has been a part of the American culture for more than 100 years,” a company representative told us via email. “The Crayola brand and Crayola crayon were born here and continue to be found in the majority of homes and schools across America.”

While not everything Crayola produces is made domestically, the company’s iconic crayons continue to be Made in USA, along with a whole lot of other essential school supplies. The company told us:

“At our manufacturing facility near our global corporate headquarters in Pennsylvania, we manufacture the majority of the world’s Crayola crayons and markers ~ nearly 3 billion crayons and hundreds of millions of markers. In addition, Crayola manufactures Model Magic, Air Dry Clay, and Silly Putty here in the US along with most of our paints and Color Wonder products.”

Crayola was founded in 1885 in New York by cousins Edwin Binney and Charles Harold Smith as the Binney & Smith Company, which made a number of pigments needed for various industrial uses.

The first box of Crayola crayons was produced in 1903. It had eight crayons and sold for 5 cents. 

The original concept of Crayola’s now omnipresent coloring tool was created by Binney & Smith cofounder Edwin Binney and his wife, Alice Stead Binney. The two developed the wax crayon we know and love today! Alice Stead Binney, a former schoolteacher, coined the name Crayola by combining the French word for chalk and the suffix for oily. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense that teachers love Crayola; the crayon was co-invented by a teacher!

But the invention was not just a hit among schoolteachers. Binney & Smith won the Golden Medal for their work at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Teachers loved and expert-approved.

The can-do, hardworking American enterprising spirit of Binney & Smith did not stop there. The team purchased the Munsell Color Company Crayon product line in 1926. Soon, the company was selling larger boxes of crayons; the “Crayola No. 48,” a box set of 48 crayons premiered in 1929. By 1958, the company rolled out the 64-color pack with a built-in sharpener. Any former elementary school student remembers how coveted this set of crayons is.

Of course, the company has vastly expanded its product line in the years since. Now a member of the National Toy Hall of Fame, Crayola continues to inspire people of all ages from their headquarters in Pennsylvania. Crayola’s manufacturing hub is in Easton, Pa, and Crayola also proudly produces products in nearby Bethlehem.

The company is responsible for approximately 1,200 jobs in Pennsylvania alone, meaning your Crayola purchase is a great way to support local, American workers. But buying Crayola this back-to-school season does more than just support jobs; these purchases help enrich entire communities, as Crayola focuses most of its philanthropic efforts in and around the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

Crayola “provides cash grants and in-kind product donations to schools and nonprofit organizations that provide artistic and educational opportunities for children and address issues of health and welfare and civic affairs,” according to the company’s website.

Crayola has four pillars for its charitable missions:

The Arts: Crayola believes “a community with robust and active arts organizations ensures a high quality of life for all citizens and provides economic vitality.” The company strives to support organizations that foster excellence and community participation. A special emphasis is placed on programs that allow children to get their hands dirty with visual art.

Education: Crayola is committed to encouraging and enhancing education for all students. Their educational philanthropy emphasizes early childhood, special needs, and arts education programs in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

Health and Welfare: Crayola is a proud partner of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley. Together, Crayola and the United Way provide health and welfare recourses to underserved populations in the region.

Civic Affairs: Crayola sets aside a portion of its annual funding for civic organizations. These donations are used to encourage community connectivity and involvement. 

Crayola is both Made in America and proud to be American-made. The company’s efforts to support and enhance the local economy through job creation and philanthropic engagement are reason enough to support such a great company this back-to-school season. Even better, Crayola makes excellent products at an affordable price! You can support American manufacturing while giving your kids (or yourself) the best tools needed to succeed this coming school year.

You can purchase Crayola products directly through the company’s website, and items are also available at retailers where back to school products are sold.