Laurentien Pencil Crayons

Although Laurentien (then spelled Laurentian) pencil crayons were made in Canada right from the start, The Venus Pencil Company Ltd. also marketed the same pencils under the brand name ‘Paradise’ in the United States. Both brands were developed for Colour-By-Number kits, and they both kept the same colour names and numbering system. This would explain some of the more exotic colour names like “#2 Sarasota Orange”and “#4 Hollywood Cerise.”

During the 1960’s, a couple of Canadian innovations were made: The packaging was changed to the portable vinyl pouches, and space for labeling on the pencil was introduced to deter theft from classmates.

In 1972, a year before Faber-Castell bought Venus, the French spelling “Laurentien” was trademarked in an attempt to increase sales in Quebec.

Sanford acquired the brand in 1994, and in 2001 they changed the packaging and discontinued the vinyl pouch. The Laurentien website states that the move back to the cardboard box was motivated by the fact that “consumers were more likely to put the coloured pencils in their own pencil case,” however it is possible that the issues of cost and PVC’s recent bad press played a factor as well.

Nevertheless, aside from some minor name changes to several of the colours, the pencils themselves still retain their iconic design.

-Michael Greco

Photo by Jim

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