Monday, 24 September, 2018

Google Doodle celebrates 180th birth anniversary of Sir William Henry Perkin

Google Honours British Chemist Sir William Henry Perkin Who Accidentally Discovered Synthetic Dye Google Doodle Remembers British Chemist Sir William Henry Perkin
Kayla Schwartz | 12 March, 2018, 17:25

Perkin's discovery made the colour easily available to the masses.

British chemist Sir William Henry Perkin is today's google doodle.

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 was an 18-year-old lab assistant when he accidentally discovered purple dye mauveine while cleaning out a beaker from a failed experiment.

It was there that Perkin started trying to synthesise quinine which was used for the treatment of malaria.

The Doodle shows Sir William Henry Perkin with a bottle of the purple dye on the right of the Doodle, as the letters of the word Google flow through what appear to be men and women from the 19th century wearing clothes dyed in the colour. However, his attempt at making quinine from aniline, an low-cost coal tar waste, was unsuccessful. He named it "mauveine" and focused on patenting, manufacturing and commercializing it as an exclusive clothing dye. Investigating the substance further, Perkin incorporated potassium dichromate and alcohol into the aniline at different stages and chanced upon a deep purple solution.

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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.

Hence the people wearing purple in the Google Doodle, a color too expensive for most people to wear, he made accessible to nearly all.

Until the mid-1800s, purple clothing was hard to come by and restricted only to those who could afford the expensive fabrics.

At the age of 14, Mr Perkin attended the prestigious City of London School - setting him on a path of scientific discovery.

In 1906, on the 50th anniversary of his discovery, Perkin was knighted for his contribution of mauveine.

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