Skip to Content

What were the original 64 Crayola colors?

What were the original 64 Crayola colors?

Crayola crayons hold a special place in many childhood memories. Since first producing crayons in 1903, Crayola has introduced many iconic color names and numbering systems. The original Crayola box contained just 8 crayons. Over the next decades, Crayola continued expanding their color palette, reaching 64 colors by 1958. The original 64 Crayola crayon colors included classics like Red, Orange, and Blue, along with now-retired shades like Maize and Raw Umber. Examining the chronological introduction of these colors provides insight into Crayola’s growth and cultural history.

Crayola’s Early Years: 1903-1949

Crayola began in 1903 as Binney & Smith, a company primarily known for red iron oxide pigments used in barn paint. After developing their first crayons using pigment and wax, Binney & Smith decided to focus their business on art supplies for children. They branded their crayons as Crayola, a name combining the French word “craie” (chalk) and “ola” from “oleaginous” (oily).

The first Crayola crayons box in 1903 contained just 8 colors: Black, Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, Red, Violet and Yellow. At 5 cents per box, these original crayons were an affordable activity for children. Over the next decades, Crayola regularly introduced new crayon assortments and specialty boxes, slowly expanding their color selection.

By 1930, Crayola offered 19 colors including new additions like Lemon Yellow, Blue Violet, and Green Blue. The product line grew to 33 colors in 1949, incorporating recently invented colors like Carnation Pink, Violet Red, and Gray. Despite business struggles during wars and depressions, Crayola’s continued innovation and affordable prices made their crayons a staple of American childhoods.

Original 1903 Crayola Colors

Black Blue Brown
Green Orange Red
Violet Yellow

The 64 Box: Crayola’s Defining Product

In 1958, Crayola released their iconic 64 count crayon box. Priced at just 29 cents, the 64 colors eclipsed previous assortments in size and variety. The original 64 colors incorporated Crayola standards like Red Orange and Yellow Green alongside new shades like Pink Sherbet and Periwinkle. With popular color names like Brick Red and Robin’s Egg Blue, the 64 count box featured something to excite every young artist.

Crayola’s 64 box arrived as coloring was cementing its place as a classic American childhood activity. The large variety of colors, approachable price point, and clever marketing made the 64 count box a favorite of children and parents. While initially releasing 64 colors, 4 were soon retired and replaced, resulting in the well-known 60 color box sold today. The release of the 64 crayon box marked a key turning point, propelling Crayola to become the world’s premier crayon brand.

Original 1958 Crayola 64 Box Colors

Apricot Bittersweet Black Blue
Blue Green Blue Violet Brick Red Brown
Burnt Orange Burnt Sienna Carnation Pink Cornflower
Flesh Forest Green Gold Gray
Green Green Blue Green Yellow Lavender
Lemon Yellow Magenta Mahogany Maize
Maroon Melon Midnight Blue Mulberry
Navy Blue Olive Green Orange Orange Red
Orchid Periwinkle Pine Green Pink
Plum Raw Sienna Raw Umber Red
Red Orange Red Violet Salmon Sea Green
Sepia Sky Blue Spring Green Tan
Thistle Turquoise Blue Violet Violet Red
White Yellow Yellow Green Yellow Orange

The Later 20th Century: Further Innovation

Between 1958 and 1999, Crayola regularly introduced new specialty crayon sets and innovative product formats. While the core 64 colors remained mostly unchanged, Crayola adapted their products to reflect consumers’ needs and cultural trends.

Key Crayola product launches during this era include:

  • Multicultural crayons (1962) – Crayola introduced flesh tone colors reflecting a diverse range of skin colors
  • Fluorescent crayons (1971) – Tie-dye art and psychedelic culture influenced these bright, glow-in-the-dark crayons
  • Erasable crayons (1979) – Allowed coloring mistakes to be easily erased, making coloring less intimidating
  • Washable markers (1983) – Made coloring less messy with these stains that washed from skin and clothing
  • Metallic crayons (1987) – Contained shimmery pearlescent pigments, aligning with 80’s aesthetics
  • Coloring books (1987) – Pre-printed books provided coloring motivation and creativity
  • Giant crayons (1990) – Easier grasping made coloring accessible for young children

While wax crayons remained at the core of Crayola’s business, they diversified their offerings to provide options tailored to children’s varied interests and abilities. Their continued innovation and understanding of consumers fueled steady growth.

The 1990s and Beyond: An Iconic Brand

By the 1990s, Crayola had cemented itself as the premier crayon brand. In 1993 alone, they estimated producing nearly 1.7 billion crayons. Their products could be found in over 80 countries worldwide. While continuing innovation with new formats like Colored Pencils (1990) and Twistables (1997), Crayola also focused on driving awareness of their classic wax crayons.

Initiatives highlighting Crayola’s brand legacy during this period include:

  • Crayola’s 75th anniversary (1988) – Special logos and commemorative products celebrated this milestone
  • “My First Crayola” marketing (1990s) – Nostalgic ads reminded parents of their own childhood coloring
  • Crayola’s 100th anniversary (2003) – The Smithsonian Museum displayed an exhibit documenting Crayola’s influence
  • 64 count crayon’s 50th anniversary (2008) – A contest asked consumers to name the new blue crayon color

Far from the company’s early roots as a pigment supplier, Crayola had transformed into an iconic American brand. The original 64 count box played a key role establishing Crayola’s presence in popular culture. While new crayon technologies have been introduced, the classic wax crayon still evokes nostalgia of childhood creativity. As Crayola celebrates 120 years in 2023, their original 64 colors remain easily recognizable symbols of a beloved brand.


Tracing Crayola’s chronological development shows a company consistently innovating to align with consumer needs and cultural trends. From just 8 colors in 1903, Crayola gradually expanded their palette over multiple decades. The introduction of the 64 count box in 1958 marked a key milestone, providing variety at an affordable price point. While retiring a few colors, Crayola built awareness of their big box as a nostalgic childhood memory. The original 64 Crayola crayon colors included classics like Red and Orange along with retired shades like Lime Green and Thistle. Examining these colors provides insight into the company’s growth from a pigment supplier to an iconic American brand with products loved by generations.