Google Doodle Remembers British Chemist Sir William Henry Perkin

Google Doodle Perkin feat

Google Doodle Perkin feat

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

Today on Google's home page is a special Google logo, a Google Doodle, for the British Chemist who accidental discovered the first aniline dye: the purple mauveine, Sir William Henry Perkin.

Sir William Henry Perkin was born on March 12, 1938 and was inquisitive since he was a child.

Perkin was trying to find a substitute for quinine which was the only feasible medical treatment for malaria in 1856 because the demand for it was exceeding the supply. According to Google's blog post, an 18-year-old laboratory assistant, Perkins was cleaning out a beaker following a failed experiment when he noticed that the constituents of the beaker left a vivid purple stain when diluted with alcohol. His timing was remarkable as the textile industry was at a high during that period in 1850s.

Although he was a chemist, William Henry Perkins' lasting discovery had a lot less to do with science, and a lot more to do with fashion. Moreover, at that time, all dyes for colouring cloth were extracts of natural products, and many of them were expensive and labour-intensive to produce.

Upon discovering the purple-tinted dye, Perkin worked to get the dye he named "mauveine" patented, manufactured and commercialized. After the discovery of mauveine, many new aniline dyes appeared in the market across Europe.

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

The Perkin Medal was established in 1906 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of mauveine.

Perkins' discovery of strong and low-cost purple dye sparked a violet fashion frenzy - as illustrated in today's Google Doodle created by the artist Sonny Ross.

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