Google has honored chemist Sir William Henry Perkin on his 180th birthday with a purple-themed doodle. Born in England on March 12, 1838, Sir Perkin is remembered for discovering the world's first synthetic dye, 'mauveine.' What's really amazing about the discovery is that it was completely accidental. An unsuccessful attempt to produce quinine led the chemist to an serendipitous discovery of the synthetic dye in the colour mauve at the tender age of 18.
Perkin accidentally discovered mauveine while cleaning a dark substance from a beaker after the failed experiment. Perkin curiosity was piqued when he noticed that the substance left a purple stain when diluted with alcohol. Perkin found the colorful dye at the right time when the textile industry was thriving.
According to the Google, after the discovery, "he focused on the patenting, manufacturing, and commercialization of this purple dye, which he named 'mauveine'". During the time, purple was quite trendy but was as expensive. Although costly, the shade would fade out soon. It was Perkin's mauveine that solved the problems for style lovers and budget seekers.
His discovery came out to be strong and cheap compared to the ones available in the market. And with that, the exclusive color was available for everyone, starting a violent fashion frenzy like shown in the Google Doodle today. The doodle is designed by UK-based illustrator Sonny Ross. In 1862, Queen Victoria herself wore a mauveine-dyed gown to the Royal Exhibition.
Perkin gained fame, popularity and wealth with this discovery in the manfacturing dye. He later returned to laboratory research. In 1906, on the 50th anniversary of his discovery, he was knighted and awarded the first Perkin Medal. Today, the Perkin Medal is widely acknowledged as the highest honor in American industrial chemistry.