Google Celebrates Chemist William Henry Perkins and His Accidental Fashion Discovery

Google Doodle Remembers British Chemist Sir William Henry Perkin

Google Doodle celebrates the 180th birthday of Sir William Henry Perkin who accidentally invented the first synthetic dye

Celebrating the 180th birthday of British chemist Sir William Henry Perkin, today's Google Doodle features the purple colour to commemorate his accidental invention of the first synthetic dye.

So who was this brilliant man who turned the world from black and white to colour overnight?

He entered the Royal College of Chemistry, now part of Imperial College London, at the surprisingly young age of 15 in 1853.

Wikipedia said "through failing in trying to synthesise quinine for the treatment of malaria, he became successful in the field of dyes after his first discovery at the age of 18".

However, during the Easter of 1856, when Perkin returned to his home in Cable Street in the East End, his own experiments in his laboratory created something very different. Investigating the substance further, Perkin incorporated potassium dichromate and alcohol into the aniline at different stages and chanced upon a deep purple solution.

Perkin was a painting and art enthusiast and was delighted with this finding.

Sir William Henry Perkin passed away in 1907 after suffering from pneumonia and is buried in Harrow.

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At the time of the Industrial Revolution in England, all dyes for colouring cloth were expensive and labour intensive to produce.

The color purple was a luxury shade at the time, only donned by the wealthiest and the most influential.

"Perkin's timing was remarkable as the textile industry was at a high", explains Google Doodle.

The chemical dye had many names including "Tyrian Purple" and aniline purple in addition to mauveine and finally, just mauve.

Over a century after his death, Google is remembering the entrepreneur and chemist who went on to set up a factory for industrially manufacture synthetic dyes.

Perkin gained fame, popularity and wealth with this discovery in the manfacturing dye.

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