For decades, when kids put their imagination to paper with colorful crayons, it was very likely the crayons they used were made in Sandusky, Ohio.
Just after the Civil War, three families took their innovative ideas for chalk used in schools from experiments on their kitchen stove to what became the American Crayon Company, once a flagship Sandusky manufacturer.
At one time, the American Crayon Company made more crayons and paints than any other plant in the world. The booming business gave Sandusky the moniker, “Color Capital of the World,” until production waned, and the plant changed hands and ultimately closed in 2002.
Sandusky native John Kropf, a descendant of the company’s founders, tells the company’s story in his book, “Color Capital of the World: Growing up with the Legacy of a Crayon Company,” and traces American Crayon’s cycle of build, boom and bust while sharing the human story behind it.
Kropf will discuss American Crayon Company’s story and sign copies of his book at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums. He will have copies of his book available for purchase. The book also can be purchased online here.
Admission is free.
Kropf completed some of his research with materials in Hayes Presidential’s Charles E. Frohman Collection. His family also has a special connection to Hayes Presidential.
“The library has a special place in my family, as it was one of my sister’s favorite locations in the area, and she visited frequently,” Kropf said.
Kropf is also the author of “Unknown Sands: Journeys Around the World’s Most Isolated Country.”
His writing has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Washington Post, The Middle West Review and elsewhere. He is an attorney in the Washington, D.C., area.