Google Doodle honours chemist who accidentally discovered synthetic dye

Google Doodle honours chemist who accidentally discovered synthetic dye

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. The Google Doodle has been designed by UK-based illustrator Sonny Ross, who has given the doodle a mauve or violet hue. Even Queen Victoria wore a mauveine-dyed gown to the Royal Exhibition of 1862.

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.

The Google doodle for Monday March 12, 2018 is dedicated to the brilliant scientist and east Londoner who changed the world with his incredible discovery back in 1856.

Perkin was the son of a successful carpenter, Scottish mother, and was the youngest of seven children. At a young age of 15, his devotion to the subject got him admission into the Royal College of Chemistry.

While experimenting, Perkin discovered that aniline could be partly transformed into a crude mixture which, when extracted with alcohol, produced a substance with an intense purple colour.

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The discovery was significant as until then fabrics had to be coloured with expensive natural substances that could never be used in large quantities.

The Science Museum in London said: "If you were an average person in the 1850s your wardrobe would have been made up of many shades of beige and browns". Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was also one of the leading trendsetters in Europe. He discovered that the colour transferred to a cloth with impeccable brilliance.

With the help of his father and brother Thomas, Perkin set up a factory on a six-acre site outside London.

The chemist continued his research and his passion for dyes - having developed and introduced aniline red in 1859, aniline black in 1863 and alkylate magenta in 1864. Perkin had accidently invented the first synthetic dye. Following his success in manufacturing, Perkin was knighted on the 50th anniversary of the discovery in 1906. His three sons all became chemists. Mr Perkin was still faced several problems. He died at the age of 69 due to pneumonia and other complications resulting from a burst appendix.

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