Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thrifty Acres: Vintage Crayons

Hello! Bought this at a rummage sale last weekend:

 A set of 48 Whitman crayons, packaged in three cardboard cartons housed in a plastic case. As a child of the 1960's, I remember crayons looking like this when I was a kid, which is why I bought them. They looked in good shape, though a few had seen heavy usage. Someone had enjoyed using brown and orange, but many of the other crayons looked like they'd never been touched. 

I like the design on the cartons too:

Not exactly sure how old these are; couldn't find anything specific about them on the Internet, other than a 1965 Whitman which shows a boy holding an identical item. However, the company address on my set - listed as Racine, Wisconsin - gives no zip code, so that might mean that my crayons are a little older than 1965 ( 5-digit zip codes came into use in the early to mid 1960's).

I eventually tested out my "new" crayons at home, just to see what the colors were like. They're nice, although there was one oddity:

The paper label clearly shows that the crayon color is "gold", but as you can also clearly see, the paper label is in fact green, and the crayon color itself is a murky green. At first I thought this might have been some sort of mistake, but then I looked on the back of the carton, where a number and a dot of color correspond to each crayon. And yes, the same murky green in shown for #48, "gold". I have no idea why the folks at Whitman called this crayon by that color name! 

Also found a couple of imposters in my set; I guess they'd been put in there to make up for two missing Whitman crayons:

These are Crayola crayons, of course - cerulean blue and olive green. 

I suspected these were vintage as well from the labels on them:

"BINNEY & SMITH INC NEW YORK" - New York? I'd only known Crayola as being headquarted in Easton, PA, but learned via the Internet that the company moved to Easton from New York in the mid 1970's. 

While trying to find out info about my Whitman crayons, I came across a website called crayoncollecting.com. It's pretty cool. Didn't learn about Whitman crayons, since the guy running the site, Ed Welter, focuses mostly on Crayola products. But thanks to his research, I was able to determine that the cerulean blue crayon is no newer than 1957, since that was the last year Crayola had that color. I would assume the olive green crayon is as old since it looks as old.

I kind of like the idea having a couple of crayons that are 57 years old - and the Whitman set likely isn't much younger. But Welter has some that are well over 100 years old - and is still looking for more! He lists the crayon sets he wants and the prices he's willing to pay for examples in good condition. 

Being a serious collector, Welter avoids coloring with his vintage crayons, at least with the tip (he'll use the bottom of the crayon instead). But I had no such qualms about using my Whitmans, so did just that for my fall weathergram:

Above, I'd used a rubber stamp with a leaf image and the word "FALL" for its design. I colored in the leaf with autumnal hues from the Whitman set. I've never used crayons on a weathergram, so I'll see how they hold up under the elements. But after all, pretty soon the leaves around here will be looking like a box of crayons as well!

If you'd like to make your own weathergram, read this. 

And if you'd like to learn more about crayons then and now, check out Ed Welter's website here. 

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