Published: Mon, March 12, 2018
Science | By Hubert Green

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

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

The secondary color, which is made by mixing red and blue, is popular among cartoon characters, clothing and logos, partly thanks to its association with characteristics including leadership, royalty and courage.

Google honoured British chemist Sir William Henry Perkin with a doodle on what would have been his 180th birthday.

He was born in London on March 12, 1838 and passed at the age of 69 in London on July 14, 1907.

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

Perkin discovered the aniline purple dye under the guidance of German chemist August Von Hofmann, while studying at the Royal College of Chemistry in London.

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

According to the Google, after the discovery, "he focused on the patenting, manufacturing, and commercialization of this purple dye, which he named "mauveine". Now, at the time of the invention, purple clothing was in style in Britain, but was expensive and faded in time. "Perkin's strong and inexpensively produced mauveine finally made this once-exclusive color readily accessible, igniting a violet fashion frenzy - as seen in today's Doodle by UK-based illustrator Sonny Ross", Google describes in its blog post.

The rich purple colour Mr Perkin had stumbled across was adopted by no less than Queen Victoria herself.

While attempting to produce quinine - a drug used to treat malaria, and found in tonic water - Sir William Henry Perkin instead created a "bluish substance with excellent dyeing properties" that later became what is known as aniline purple, or mauve.

After decades dedicated to manufacturing and working on dyes, Perkin went back to research after he sold his factory in 1874.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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