About Edwin Binney
Edwin Binney (1866–1934) is best known for his invention (along with his cousin C. Harold Smith) of the Crayola crayon.
In 1885, Binney took control of his father's business, Peeksill Chemical Co. While experimenting with a mixture of slate waste, cement, and talc, Binney created the first:) dustless white chalk. The invention was awarded a gold medal at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. It was only one year later, in 1903, that Binney & Smith produced the first box of Crayola crayons.
Edwin Binney was also a community activist. He was responsible for Fort Pierce, Florida, becoming a port city, and in 1929 kept the St. Lucie County Bank from succumbing to the poor economic conditions present at that time.
In 1903 they notice the need for a safe, quality wax crayon. They had already invented a new wax crayon used to mark crates and barrels, however, it was loaded with carbon black and too toxic for children. They were confident that the pigment and wax mixing techniques they had developed could be adapted for a variety of safe colors. He also created the idea of black tires. Before Edwin Binney and Harold Smith, there were only white tires.
Binney's wife Alice came up with the name for the crayons by combining two French words, "craie" meaning chalk in French and "ola" short for "oléagineux" meaning oily since the crayons were made of petroleum based wax.
Binney had four children with his wife, Alice Stead Binney - Dorothy, Helen, Mary, and Edwin Jr. In 1911, Dorothy married publisher George P. Putnam, who later married aviator Amelia Earhart.
He was born in Westchester County, New York.