EASTON, Pa.--Do you think you've ever met anyone, in the United States at least, who hasn't played with Crayola crayons? The odds are low. Crayola makes 3 billion of the wonderful colored drawing implements a year. And it's a surprisingly simple process to make them.
On Road Trip 2010, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited Crayola to see how these ubiquitous wax wonders are created.
In its store, Crayola displays this crayon--the biggest in the world, which was made to celebrate the company's 100th birthday. It weighs 1,500 pounds, is 15 feet long, and was created with crayons donated by children around the country.
This crayon could draw a single line 10 miles long, or color in an entire football field.
A Crayola employee pours the heated wax onto the hole table.
Crayola does not allow the public--or the press, in most cases--to see its actual manufacturing facility. But at its visitors' center, the company offers its 300,000 annual visitors a demonstration of the process. And though the demonstration is done at a slower speed, it is representative of what happens in the real factory.
A roll automatically scrapes the dried wax off the surface of the hole table, pushing it into a bin at the end. The wax is not thrown away. Instead, it's melted again and used in a future pour. Crayola does a lot of recycling, including mixing all colors of defective crayons into its black crayons.