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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

Fun Facts About Color!



Think color doesn’t count? Get a new perspective by reading some interesting findings and historical facts about color


COLOR SPECTRUM & PRISMS

Sir Isaac Newton, the English scientist, is credited with demonstrating the visible color spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet while experimenting with sunlight shining through a prism in the late 1660s. Newton was home from college due to the bubonic plague.

NEWBORNS SEE IN BLACK & WHITE

Newborn babies see in black, white, and shades of gray because the nerve cells in their eyes and brain are not yet fully developed. In the first weeks of life, they start to distinguish the color red and are thought to have good color vision at around 5 months. About 8% of men and 0.5% of women suffer from color vision deficiency, most often due to genetics.

MANUFACTURING PURPLE

The color purple was once made by “milking” or crushing sea snails for a substance used to make dye. It was very expensive to produce and most often worn by royalty. That changed in 1856 when an 18-year-old English chemist trying to cure malaria discovered that coal tar left behind a residue of brilliant purple he called mauvine.


WATERCOLOR SETS

Board game pioneer Milton Bradley was fascinated by color and published four books about elementary art education. His company introduced the first standardized watercolor sets in the late 1890s, and developed a new version of the color wheel in 1895 designed for teachers.


FIESTA DINNERWARE

The Homer Laughlin China Company introduced Fiesta Dinnerware in 1936, using five vivid colors. The orange-red had uranium oxide in the glaze, making the dishes slightly radioactive. The color was discontinued in 1944 when natural uranium was needed by the U.S. government.


THE DODGE LA FEMME

The automobile industry responded to the prosperity of the 1950s by offering more color choices in vehicles. The Dodge La Femme was marketed to the new working woman in 1955-56. It came in two-tone shades of pink and white with accessories including a rain cape and umbrella.

THE CREATION OF CRAYONS

The first crayons were made from a mixture of charcoal and oil. Powered color pigments eventually replaced charcoal, and wax replaced oil. Crayola Crayons were invented in 1902 and named after the French word “craie,” or stick of chalk, and “ola” from “oleaginous,” or oily

WARNING SIGNALS IN NATURE

University of Arizona researchers have found a link that may explain why bright colors are used as a sexual signal in some animals and a warning in others. Animals whose ancestors were primarily active during the day, like a songbird, use colors to attract. Animals whose ancestors were active at night, like a poison dart frog, use bright colors to warn away predator.

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