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

Pablo Tucker
March 12, 2018

The doodle was in celebration of what would have been his 180th birthday.

Designed by UK-based illustrator, Sonny Ross, the doodle leads to a search for "Sir William Henry Perkin" and highlights the purple-colored fabrics made possible by Perkin's dye.

Google has honored chemist Sir William Henry Perkin on his 180th birthday with a purple-filled doodle.


Hence the people wearing purple in the Google Doodle, a color too expensive for most people to wear, he made accessible to nearly all.

Born in London on March 12, 1838, William Perkin was the youngest of the seven children of George Perkin, a successful carpenter.

Perkin was trying to find a synthetic treatment for malaria when he accidentally discovered the dye. However, while cleaning out a beaker after a failed experiment, he noticed that when mixed with alcohol, the leftover substance made a deep and vivid purple dye. He named it "mauveine" and focused on patenting, manufacturing and commercializing it as an exclusive clothing dye. Google called the timing of his serendipitous discovery "remarkable" because the textile industry was at full-force. "Purple clothing was very much in style, but prohibitively expensive for most, not to mention quick to fade". 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. Queen Elizabeth wore one of Perkins' purple creations to the Royal Exhibition in 1862, and since then lilac, plum, violet and periwinkle have remained obvious mainstays in cloth creations.


Perkins' discovery of strong and low-priced purple dye sparked a violet fashion frenzy - as illustrated in today's Google Doodle created by the artist Sonny Ross.

Forum discussion at Google+.


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