The Perkin Legacy

In 1856 William Henry Perkin discovered a colour that changed the world. At 18 years of age, it was his failed attempt to synthesise quinine from aniline that led to the invention of the first synthetic dye (mauveine). Perkin’s recognition of the potential of mauve as a dye, coupled with his determination to commercialise it, was the spark that launched the modern synthetic chemical industry. Nowadays, Perkin is commemorated in a number of ways by several bodies involved in the chemical industry, including the SDC with its Perkin House headquarters and prestigious Perkin Medal.

Perkin Celebrations: 150 Years of Colour (14-Mar-06)

150 years ago, William Henry Perkin, a true innovator of his day, invented a colour that changed the world. At 18, it was his failed attempt in 1856 to synthesise quinine from aniline that led to the invention of the first synthetic dye (mauve). (More)

William Henry Perkin: 1838-1907 (04-Apr-06)

Featuring the early years and achievements of William Henry Perkin and his discovery and development of mauveine. (More)

Perkin: The Birth of the Chemical Industry (26-May-06)

A talk given by Simon Campbell at the SDC Day of Celebration in 2006, which outlined the true impact on today’s chemical industry. (More)

Perkin’s Mauve: the History of the Chemistry (26-May-06)

This article details the chemistry behind Perkin’s discovery in 1856 and the long search for the structure of mauveine. SDC’s Andrew Filarowski explains further. (More)

Perkin’s Mauve: 150 Years of Colour (30-May-06)

Guest speaker at the 2006 SDC Day of Celebration Simon Garfield, an expert on Perkin and author of the book Mauve, gave an entertaining look at how Perkin might have viewed the world today. (More)

Dyeing to Fish – the Story of the Perkin Fly (17-Aug-06)

David Young, the great grandson of Sir William Henry Perkin, tells the story of the family connection which inspired a new salmon fly. (More)

Sir William Henry Perkin: A Review of his life, work and legacy (10-Oct-06)

The life, work and legacy of Sir William Henry Perkin are reviewed in the light of his early chemical education, his training in coal tar chemistry with Hofmann, and his discovery, patenting and manufacture of mauveine. (More)

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