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

Sir William Henry Perkin Google Doodle Honours Chemist Who Accidentally Discovered Synthetic Dye

Google Doodle

Today's Google doodle marks the 180th birthday of the British scientist, Sir William Henry Perkin.

Born in England on March 12th, 1838, chemist Sir William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered "mauveine", the first synthetic dye. Perkin was trying to synthesize quinine for the treatment of malaria, but ended up becoming successful in the field of dyes after the discovery of purple mauveine. However, he had started working as a chemist to assist the German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann at Imperial College in London at the age of 15. He named it "mauveine" and focused on patenting, manufacturing and commercializing it as an exclusive clothing dye.

However, during the Easter of 1856, when Perkin returned to his home in Cable Street in the East End, his own experiments in his laboratory created something very different.

The discovery was significant as until then fabrics had to be coloured with expensive natural substances that could never be used in large quantities.

Soon after that, more aniline dyes were discovered - some by Perkin himself - and factories sprung up all over Europe.

"Perkin's timing was remarkable as the textile industry was at a high", explains Google Doodle.

Perkin gained fame, popularity and wealth with this discovery in the manfacturing dye. His three sons all became chemists. He died at the age of 69 due to pneumonia and other complications resulting from a burst appendix.

After making relative riches from manufacturing, Sir William Henry Perkin turn to researching and studying chemical processes and was knighted in 1906, 50 years after his accidental discovery.

A school founded in Perkin's name can be found in Greenford, Middlesex and the uniform is mauve in tribute to his eye-popping finding.

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