How Was Synthetic Dye Discovered?

In 1856, an 18-year-old scientist named William Perkin attempted to develop an artificial quinine that could treat malaria. Although his quest for the synthetic drug did not succeed, he did manage to create a substance called aniline purple, the first synthetic dye. Perkin patented the dye and named it "mauve." The color soon caught on on the fashion industry, making Perkin a very wealthy man.

More about synthetic dye:

  • Perkin later developed other types of synthetic dye as well as an artificial fragrance that mimicked the scent of freshly cut hay. This scent was influential in the development of synthetic perfumes and colognes.

  • Perkin was a scientific prodigy who began his studies at the Royal College of Chemistry when he was 15 years old.

  • Many textile companies appreciated the synthetic dye because it was cheaper than natural dye, provided more intense color and was less likely to fade over time.

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