Perkin discovered Mauveine, the first synthetic dye at the age of 18.
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. He then started assisting German chemist August von Hofmann.
Furthermore, the colour purple had been a signifier of aristocracy, prestige and even royalty since ancient times, and it had been especially expensive and hard to produce as the requisite dye, Tyrian purple, since it was made from the glandular mucus of certain molluscs. Perkin was born on March 12, 1838 in Shadwell, London, United Kingdom, and today's Google doodle shows the significance of his discovery. His accidental discovery of substance mauveine or purple introduced a new trend into the fashion industry.
Queen Elizabeth herself wore a mamuveine-dyed gown to the Royal Exhibition of 1862. He is credited with discovering synthetic dye at a young age of 18. Perkin further probed, adding potassium dichromate and alcohol into the aniline in various stages, which resulted in a deep purple solution.
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Perkin was the son of a successful carpenter, Scottish mother, and was the youngest of seven children.
Perkin had made a lucrative discovery, and set to built factories and raise funds to made it widely available. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to synthesise quinine but in a related reaction a mysterious dark sludge was produced. Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was also one of the leading trendsetters in Europe.
Perkin originally named his dye Tyrian Purple, but it later became commonly known as mauve.
Perkin was knighted in 1906, on the 50th anniversary of his serendipitous discovery. Today it is acknowledged as the highest honour in American industrial chemistry.
Perkin died on July 14, 1907 in London, following complications of pneumonia and a burst appendix.