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The Thrill of Crayons

When called on to babysit, I’ve found it helpful, indeed necessary, to have a good supply of felt tips, paper and crayons. The crayons in particular evoke a certain nostalgia. Maybe it’s the pleasing feel of them, the spectrum of colours, or their distinctive, familiar smell.

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Here are some things I didn’t know about them

In the last 98 years, more than 100 billion Crayola crayons have been made.


The average child in the United States will wear down 730 crayons by his 10th birthday. Kids, ages 2-8, spend an average of 28 minutes each day colouring. Combined, children in the US spend 6.3 billion hours colouring annually.


According to a Yale University study, the scent of Crayola crayons is among the 20 most recognisable to American adults. Coffee and peanut butter are 1 and 2.

An illustrated index of Crayola colours, in alphabetical and historical orders, can be found here. There is, of course, a Virtual Museum of Crayon Collecting, with a section devoted to Crayola products and a helpful essay on how to display your collection of crayon boxes. Some, like Pete Goldlust, prefer to carve their crayons.

See also: The Thrill of Pencils and The Thrill of Carpeting.