Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crayolas Gone Wild!

by Tom Bozzo

I was enjoying a little coloring session with the boy during TV-free yesterday (reversion to mean: Julia is watching Blue's Clues while I blog), and was presented with a crayon and a request to identify the color, a slightly warm gray. I spin the name into position:


OK, W is for wolf in the beloved Northwoods alphabet book. But that was not all. We came across "granny smith apple," a green a shade or two lighter and yellower than just plain green, but darker than any Granny Smith apple I've ever seen. The winner for figurativeness in the box-of-48 was "purple mountain's majesty," a reddish medium blue, with no objective relationship to the other purples I can identify. Someone at Binney & Smith has a lot of time on his or her hands.

Astoundingly, Crayola crayons are (for now?) made in the U.S.A. Not that I'm morally opposed to imports or anything, but apart from the LEGO collection (*), there's darn little in the collection of children's distractions that's made in the developed world.

Coloring on a sunny morning...

(*) And even LEGO production is migrating to Eastern Europe and low-wage parts of Asia in search of lower wages and, presumably, more relaxed labor regulations. Those wildly expensive TtFTE wooden railway engines? Made in China.
I think Crayola had a contest to name a bunch of new crayon colors, leading to "purple mountain's majesty", "macaroni and cheese", and other colors.

They have a lot of info on their website - my son and I were browsing on there a couple of weeks ago when he had similar questions (and we disagreed as to how to pronounce "cerulean" - Crayola has pronunciations on the website!). The kiddo is sad about the retired colors and wishes he could draw with them, but was excited about possibly seeing them if we visit the Crayola "museum" in PA.
Wow, the things you miss -- "purple mountain's majesty" was introduced in '93. It's also listed as a favorite of Rick Santorum. Ugh!

The trilingual pronunciation chart is pretty cool, though.
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