Google honoured British chemist Sir William Henry Perkin on his 180th birthday with a doodle dedicated to him. Though Sir Perkin may not be someone who is known to all, his contribution is of significance even today. Sir Perkin is best known for his accidental discovery of the first aniline dye, or the purple mauveine.
Sir Perkin was born in London on March 12, 1838 and was the youngest child of carpenter George Perkin, who had seven kids. At the age of 14, he began attending the City of London School.
In 1853, Perkin, then a 15-year-old, started working for German chemist August Wilhelm von Hofmann at the Royal College of Chemistry – which is presently known as the Imperial College of London.
While working with a chemical called quinine, a chemical that was discovered in the barks of certain trees, Perkin accidentally found out a way of creating a type of dye that could be used for colouring fabrics.
It was considered to be a significant discovery at that time since fabrics had to be coloured using natural substances which were expensive and couldn’t be used in large amounts.
The colour Perkin discovered had rich purple shade and was picked up by Queen Victoria herself.
Perkin died in 1907 following a bout with pneumonia and is buried in Harrow.