Google honors chemist Sir William Henry Perkin with new Doodle

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The Doodle, made by UK-based illustrator Sonny Ross, shows off the magnificent purple colour on a series of people wearing it. Various shades of pinks, lilacs and purple were at the height of fashion industry. Even Queen Victoria herself wore a mauveine-dyed gown to the Royal Exhibition of 1862!

Google is today celebrating the birth anniversary of British chemist Sir William Henry Perkin, who accidentally discovered the first synthetic dye.

He was born in London on March 12, 1838 and passed at the age of 69 in London on July 14, 1907.

His first ambitious project, assigned by von Hofmann, was to attempt to synthesise quinine in order to combat malaria. When he tried to wash it off, it left behind a vivid purple colour.

After further examination, Perkin added potassium dichromate and alcohol into the aniline in various stages, which resulted in a deep purple solution.

During the rest of his life Perkin manufactured other synthetic dyes including Britannia Violet and Perkin's Green, as well as discovering the first synthetic perfume chemical coumarine. Perkin originally named his dye Tyrian purple but is now commonly known as mauve. Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was also one of the leading trendsetters in Europe. Perkin could not have chosen a better time or place for his discovery.

Perkin persuaded his father to put up the capital to support his enterprise and his brothers to partner with him to build a factory. However, his attempt at making quinine from aniline, an low-cost coal tar waste, was unsuccessful.

The chemist continued his research and his passion for dyes - having developed and introduced aniline red in 1859, aniline black in 1863 and alkylate magenta in 1864. He is credited with discovering synthetic dye at a young age of 18.

This method became known as the "Perkin synthetis".

The Perkin Medal was established in 1906 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the discovery of mauveine. His timing was remarkable as the textile industry was at a high during that period in 1850s. His three sons all became chemists.