Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World

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9780393323139: Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World

"Garfield's engaging story of William Perkin's accidental discovery is an informative mix of science, history, and biography."―Boston Herald

In 1856 eighteen-year-old English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way to mass-produce color. In a "witty, erudite, and entertaining" (Esquire) style, Simon Garfield explains how the experimental mishap that produced an odd shade of purple revolutionized fashion, as well as industrial applications of chemistry research. Occasionally honored in certain colleges and chemistry clubs, Perkin until now has been a forgotten man.

"By bringing Perkin into the open and documenting his life and work, Garfield has done a service to history."―Chicago Tribune "[A]n inviting cocktail of Perkin biography, account of the dye industry and where it led, and social and cultural history up to the present."―American Scientist "Garfield leaps gracefully back and forth in time, as comfortable in the Victorian past as he is in the brave new world of petrochemicals and biochemistry."―Kirkus Reviews starred review. "[T]he delight of this book is seeing parallels to present-day trends."―"New York Times Book Review 8 pages of color illustrations

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Review:

In 1856, while trying to synthesize artificial quinine, 18-year-old chemistry student William Perkin instead produced a murky residue. Fifty years later, he described the event: he "was about to throw a certain residue away when I thought it might be interesting. The solution of it resulted in a strangely beautiful color." Perkin had stumbled across the world's first aniline dye, a color that became known as mauve.

"So what?" you might say. "A teenager invented a new color." As Simon Garfield admirably points out in Mauve, the color really did change the world. Before Perkin's discovery all the dyes and paints were colored by roots, leaves, insects, or, in the case of purple, mollusks. As a result, colors were inconsistent and unpredictably strong, often fading or washing out. Perkin found a dye that would always produce a uniform shade--and he pointed the way to other synthetic colors, thus revolutionizing the world of both dyemaking and fashion. Mauve became all the rage. Queen Victoria wore it to her daughter's wedding in 1858, and the highly influential Empress Eugénie decided the color matched her eyes. Soon, the streets of London erupted in what one wag called the "mauve measles."

Mauve had a much wider impact as well. By finding a commercial use for his discovery--much to the dismay of his teacher, the great August Hofmann, who believed there needed to be a separation between "pure" and "applied" science--Perkin inspired others to follow in his footsteps: "Ten years after Perkin's discovery of mauve, organic chemistry was perceived as being exciting, profitable, and of great practical use." The influx of bright young men all hoping to earn their fortunes through industrial applications of chemistry later brought significant advances in the fields of medicine, perfume, photography, and even explosives. Through it all, Garfield tells his story in clever, witty prose, turning this odd little tale into a very entertaining read. --Sunny Delaney

About the Author:

Simon Garfield is the author of several acclaimed books, including The End of the Innocence: Britain in the Time of AIDS, which won the Somerset Maugham Award.

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Descripción WW Norton Co, United States, 2002. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1856 eighteen-year-old English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way to mass-produce color. In a witty, erudite, and entertaining (Esquire) style, Simon Garfield explains how the experimental mishap that produced an odd shade of purple revolutionized fashion, as well as industrial applications of chemistry research. Occasionally honored in certain colleges and chemistry clubs, Perkin until now has been a forgotten man. By bringing Perkin into the open and documenting his life and work, Garfield has done a service to history. -Chicago Tribune [A]n inviting cocktail of Perkin biography, account of the dye industry and where it led, and social and cultural history up to the present. -American Scientist Garfield leaps gracefully back and forth in time, as comfortable in the Victorian past as he is in the brave new world of petrochemicals and biochemistry. -Kirkus Reviews starred review. [T]he delight of this book is seeing parallels to present-day trends. - New York Times Book Review. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780393323139

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Descripción WW Norton Co, United States, 2002. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In 1856 eighteen-year-old English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way to mass-produce color. In a witty, erudite, and entertaining (Esquire) style, Simon Garfield explains how the experimental mishap that produced an odd shade of purple revolutionized fashion, as well as industrial applications of chemistry research. Occasionally honored in certain colleges and chemistry clubs, Perkin until now has been a forgotten man. By bringing Perkin into the open and documenting his life and work, Garfield has done a service to history. -Chicago Tribune [A]n inviting cocktail of Perkin biography, account of the dye industry and where it led, and social and cultural history up to the present. -American Scientist Garfield leaps gracefully back and forth in time, as comfortable in the Victorian past as he is in the brave new world of petrochemicals and biochemistry. -Kirkus Reviews starred review. [T]he delight of this book is seeing parallels to present-day trends. - New York Times Book Review. Nº de ref. de la librería AAS9780393323139

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Descripción WW Norton Co, United States, 2002. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In 1856 eighteen-year-old English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way to mass-produce color. In a witty, erudite, and entertaining (Esquire) style, Simon Garfield explains how the experimental mishap that produced an odd shade of purple revolutionized fashion, as well as industrial applications of chemistry research. Occasionally honored in certain colleges and chemistry clubs, Perkin until now has been a forgotten man. By bringing Perkin into the open and documenting his life and work, Garfield has done a service to history. -Chicago Tribune [A]n inviting cocktail of Perkin biography, account of the dye industry and where it led, and social and cultural history up to the present. -American Scientist Garfield leaps gracefully back and forth in time, as comfortable in the Victorian past as he is in the brave new world of petrochemicals and biochemistry. -Kirkus Reviews starred review. [T]he delight of this book is seeing parallels to present-day trends. - New York Times Book Review. Nº de ref. de la librería BZV9780393323139

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