Google Doodle Celebrates William Henry Perkins, Who Made the World More Purple


He made it possible to color clothing and other materials in an economic manner.

Sir William Henry Perkin is known for his contribution to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries but he discovered the synthetic dye when he was just 18. Born in England on March 12th, 1838, William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered "mauveine", the first synthetic dye. Perkin was trying to synthesize quinine for the treatment of malaria, but ended up becoming successful in the field of dyes after the discovery of purple mauveine.

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"As an 18-year-old laboratory assistant, 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", writes Google on the Google Doodle blog.

This was the flawless time for Perkin to have made his discovery and he went about getting his father to invest in his discovery, which caught on in Britain's booming textile industry right away. As a British chemist and entrepreneur, he is best known for his accidental discovery of the first aniline dye popularly known as the purple mauveine. Now, at the time of the invention, purple clothing was in style in Britain, but was expensive and faded in time. And with that, the exclusive color was available for everyone starting a violent fashion frenzy like shown in the Google Doodle today. Google says after earning much wealth and success in manufacturing, Perkin returned to laboratory research.

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Queen Victoria wore a gown that was dyed using mauveine in 1862 to the Royal Exhibition.

Happy 180th birthday, Sir William Henry Perkin!

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Today, on what would have been his 180th birthday, Google is celebrating this discovery with a beautifully colourful Google Doodle.