Who is Sir William Henry Perkin?


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

The chemist was honored Monday with a Google Doodle on the homepage of the search engine.

The reach of today's Doodle is limited to the United States, west coast of South America, the UK and a few other European countries, India, Japan and Indonesia. He was quick to recognise the commercial possibility of the dye, originally named as Tyrian Purple. The dye offered what natural dyes couldn't: it was available in abundance because it was manufactured, and it didn't fade the way natural dyes did. Google's homepage features artwork depicting Perkin standing in front of a line of people as he adds color to their clothing. The illustration was created by Sonny Ross, an artist based in the United Kingdom, according to Google. In fact it wasn't until 1838, when the chemist Sir William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered a purple substance when cleaning up after an experiment, that it became readily accessible to the British public - and later to the world.

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In 1856, Perkin carried out a series of experiments to manufacture quinine from aniline, an low-cost and readily available coal tar waste product, working in his makeshift laboratory at his home. Perkin discovered the first synthetic dye, known as mauveine. Queen Victoria is said to have worn a mauveine-dyed gown to the Royal Exhibition of 1862. There Perkin started experimenting in synthesising quinine used in the treatment of malaria. The Doodle celebrates the 180th birthday of Perkins, who was knighted in 1906 because of his marvellous discovery.

The dye was used in more than just clothing, it was also used in the medical research industry where the dyes were used to identify anthrax and tuberculosis on a microbial and bacterial level.