Sir William Henry Perkin Google Logo

Google Doodle Perkin feat

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.

Born in England on March 12th, 1838, William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered "mauveine", the first synthetic dye.

Sonny Ross, a UK-based illustrator who drew today's Doodle tries to capture the frenzy of the once-exclusive purple clothing in Britain after mauveine was commercialised.

Perkin's growing passion for chemistry and talent and devotion to the subject got him admission into the Royal College of Chemistry at a tender age of 15.

Perkin discovered the aniline purple dye under the guidance of German chemist August Von Hofmann, while studying at the Royal College of Chemistry in London. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to synthesise quinine but in a related reaction a mysterious dark sludge was produced.

After further examination, Perkin added potassium dichromate and alcohol into the aniline in various stages, which resulted in a deep purple solution.

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This was the first aniline or synthetic dye that was ever discovered - and he filed a patent in 1856.

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.

Perkin had made a lucrative discovery, and set to built factories and raise funds to made it widely available. Mr Perkin gave the world "mauveine", the world's first synthetic dye, used for colouring fabrics.

It was adopted by Queen Victoria and by by Empress Eugénie, wife of Napoleon III, in France. Having gained wealth and success from his stint in manufacturing, Perkin eventually returned to laboratory research and was later knighted in 1906, on the 50th anniversary of his 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.

All three sons, William Jr, Arthur and Frederick, became chemists.

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