A crayon is a stick of colored wax, charcoal, chalk or other material used for writing or drawing. A crayon made of pigment with a dry binder is a pastel, a grease pencil or Chinese marker is made of colored hardened grease. There are also watercolor crayons, sometimes called water-soluble crayons, Crayons are available at a range of prices and are easy to work with. They are less messy than most paints and markers, blunt, typically nontoxic and these characteristics make them particularly good instruments for teaching small children to draw in addition to being used widely by student and professional artists. In the modern English-speaking world, the term crayon is commonly associated with the wax crayon. Such crayons are usually approximately 3.5 inches in length, paraffin wax is heated and cooled to achieve the correct temperature in which a usable wax substance can be dyed and then manufactured and shipped for use around the world. Paraffin waxes are used for cosmetics, candles, for the preparation of printing ink, fruit preserving, in the industry, for lubricating purposes. Colin Snedeker, a chemist for Binney & Smith, developed the first washable crayons in response to complaints regarding stained fabrics. A patent for the washable solid marking composition utilized in the washable crayons was awarded to Snedeker in 1990, the history of the crayon is not entirely clear. The word crayon dates to 1644, coming from crale and the Latin word creta, the notion to combine a form of wax with pigment actually goes back thousands of years. Encaustic painting is a technique that uses hot beeswax combined with colored pigment to bind color into stone, a heat source was then used to burn in and fix the image in place. Pliny the Elder, a Roman scholar, was thought to describe the first techniques of wax crayon drawings and this method, employed by the Egyptians, Romans, Greeks and even indigenous people in the Philippines, is still used today. However, the process wasnt used to make crayons into a form intended to be held, contemporary crayons are purported to have originated in Europe where some of the first cylinder shaped crayons were made with charcoal and oil. Pastels are an art medium having roots with the modern crayon, conté crayons, out of Paris, are a hybrid between a pastel and a conventional crayon, used since the late 1790s as a drawing crayon for artists. Later, various hues of powdered pigment eventually replaced the primary charcoal ingredient found in most early 19th century product, references to crayons in literature appear as early as 1813 in Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice. Joseph Lemercier, considered by some of his contemporaries to be the soul of lithography, was one of the founders of the modern crayon. Through his Paris business circa 1828 he produced a variety of crayon, but even as those in Europe were discovering that substituting wax for the oil strengthened the crayon, various efforts in the United States were also developing. The initial era of wax crayons saw a number of companies and products competing for the lucrative education, Binney & Smith Company developed their own famous line of wax crayons beginning on June 10,1903
A selection of colorful crayons.
A wide variety of crayon boxes have been produced over the years