At the age of 14, Mr Perkin attended the prestigious City of London School – setting him on a path of scientific discovery. 2018.
Today’s Google Doodle honors chemist Sir William Henry Perkin, who accidentally Google honoured British chemist Sir William Henry Perkin with a doodle on what would have been his 180th birthday. discovered the purple dye mauveine while trying to synthesize an anti-malarial drug.
But things weren’t going well. Legend has it that Perkin was cleaning out a beaker after yet another unsuccessful attempt at making quinine, when he noticed that diluting the dark purple sludge with alcohol left a bright purple stain on the glass. Perkin, besides being a chemistry prodigy, was an avid painter and photographer, so he immediately saw the potential of a bright purple dye – if he could produce it reliably in large enough quantities. He moved his work to a garden shed to keep Hofmann from noticing his extracurricular work, and later that year he filed for a patent on a dye he called mauveine.
Perkin, known for giving birth to the modern chemical industry, did not stop with this discovery but went on researching to find other aniline dye colours and synthetic scents. He died on July 14, 1907.
Mauveine was the first synthetic dye for cloth; every color on fabric in the mid-1800s had to be extracted from something in nature, such as a berry’s juice or a beetle’s exoskeleton. The best purple dye available at the time was made from mollusc mucus, which was difficult and expensive to extract. Mauveine was a cheaper and more color-fast alternative, and at the height of the industrial revolution, Perkin’s timing was perfect.