Sir William Henry Perkin dedicated a Google doodle on his birth anniversary

Olive Hawkins
March 12, 2018

A chance discovery during an Easter break in 1856 led Sir William Henry Perkin to create the first synthetic dye.

Perkin discovered Mauveine, the first synthetic dye at the age of 18.

"Perkin was cleaning out dark muck from a beaker after a failed experiment, when he noticed that the substance left a vivid purple stain when diluted with alcohol", the official Google doodle page pointed out.

Perkin attended the City of London School and in 1853 aged 15 he began working with German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann at the Royal College of Chemistry (now Imperial College London).

Deep in purple, the doodle captures the violent frenzied fashion trends of that era as Perkin's discovery made the expensive colour easily available to the masses. In the doodle, Perkin has been shown holding light in from of fashionable people in purple attires of different shades. Born on March 12, 1838, in London, Perkin was an inquisitive child but his ardour for chemistry gained momentum after he stumbled upon a deteriorating laboratory at his late grandfather's home.

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The discovery of mauveine came at the time when textile industry was at a high.

In 1856, Perkin carried out a series of experiments to manufacture quinine from aniline, an affordable and readily available coal tar waste product, working in his makeshift laboratory at his home. Following his success in manufacturing, Perkin was knighted on the 50th anniversary of the discovery in 1906.

Perkin originally named the dye Tyrian Purple, but it later become known a mauve. Today marks the 180th birthday of Sir Willian Henry Perkin and apart from mauveine, he is also known for aniline dye and Perkin triangle.

The scientist died in 1907 of pneumonia and other medical repercussions of a burst appendix.

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