Shades of Blue, with a little help from Crayola

So here’s something I’m not sure if I mentioned to y’all yet.  (I still can’t get over the fact that the apostrophe in y’all is not between the ‘a’ and the first ‘l’…)  There’s this game that I started playing on my job site where I try to name the color that everybody is wearing that day – well, not EVERYBODY, just the fun ones.  For example, two weeks ago, I came up with the name persimmon for Mike’s shirt – and gosh darnit, it was exactly right (if I do say so myself).


Now, you would think that because I work at a (mostly) accounting firm people wouldn’t have caught onto this, but they have.  For example, Larry (or was it Scott?) came up with the idea that my new hair color is actually called “Firetruck at Night”… as opposed to my title, “Red Wine”.

Anyway.  BECAUSE I work at an accounting firm, most people show up wearing some shade of blue to work (if they’re not wearing some shade of gray or white… and there’s only so many different shades of gray to name) and I’ve found that I have difficulty naming the blues – they’re all really close to each other.  For example, what’s the REAL difference between sky blue and light blue?  I really have no idea.  So I’m going to go back to the old school way of doing things and take it back to the Crayola Crayon Box.  Here’s what I found on the Crayola Website:


So here’s a little bit of a history on the Crayola Blues:

  • In 1908: There were only 8 colors, one of which was blue (yes, it was called blue).
  • 1948-1957: There were 48 colors, of which the following were blues: Blue, Blue Green, Blue Violet, Cornflower, Green Blue, Prussian Blue*, Turquoise Blue, and Violet Blue
    *Name changed to “midnight blue” in 1958 in response to teachers’ requests
  • 1958-1971: There were 64 colors, of which the following were additional blues: Blue Gray, Cadet Blue, Navy Blue, and Sky Blue
  • 1972-1989: There were 72 colors, of which the only additional blue was Ultra Blue, which changed its name to Blizzard Blue in 1990.
  • 1990-1992: There were 80 colors, of which there were no additional blues.
  • 1990: Green Blue retired and was replaced by Cerulean.  Violet Blue retired and was replaced by Fuchsia.  Blue Gray retired and was replaced by Royal Purple.  (um, excuse me?  How do any of these replacements make sense?)
  • 1993: There were 96 colors (finally the 96 box of crayons!), of which the following were additional blues: Denim, Pacific Blue,
  • 1998: There were 120 colors (whoa.), of which the only additional blue was Blue Bell.
  • 2000: Thistle was removed from the 120-count box to make room for Indigo.
  • 2003: Two shades of blue were retired – blizzard blue and teal blue.  (sheesh, blizzard blue had a short lived life, 13 years)  One shade of blue was added – wild blue yonder.

You see.  Now looking into the history of the Crayola Blue it makes completely perfect sense why I’m so confused.

Other Fun Crayola Facts:

  • The crayon called “flesh” was voluntarily changed to “peach” in 1962, partially as a result of the U. S. Civil Rights Movement.
  • Indian Red is renamed Chestnut in 1999 in response to educators who felt some children wrongly perceived the crayon color was intended to represent the skin color of Native Americans. The name originated from a reddish-brown pigment found near India commonly used in fine artist oil paint.
  • Macaroni and Cheese didn’t come out until 1993.
  • It’s not Robin’s Egg Blue, it’s Robin Egg Blue.  Weird.

What was your favorite color from the crayola box?  Perhaps razzmatazz or fuzzy wuzzy brown?

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  • i loved green blue and violet red! and i love crayola! at school most of us only had the 8-color set and i would stare with envy at the very few kids who had the 64-set with the SHARPENER!

    and the new thing i learned today: the robin egg blue. you’re right, it’s weird 😀

    • ChrystinaNoel

      I live within 2 hours of the Crayola Factory, but they stopped giving Factory tours a few years ago. I was really disappointed when I found that out…

  • You know how I love blue, so if you’re going to pick a color to write about, I’m glad it’s blue! I thought the history part was really funny. That means Crayola is paying people to decide which crayons to “retire” and which ones to add. I think they should never retire any. Also, do they sell boxes of all their blues or all their reds, etc? That would be fun to have.

    • ChrystinaNoel

      No. But they sell a box of skin toned color crayons… the “multicultural set”

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