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

by Garfield, Simon

  • ISBN: 9780393020052
  • ISBN10: 0393020053

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

by Garfield, Simon

  • List Price: $23.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
  • Publish date: 12/01/2003
  • ISBN: 9780393020052
  • ISBN10: 0393020053
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Description: Before 1856, the color in our lives -- the reds, blues, and blacks of clothing, paint, and print -- came from insects or mollusks, roots or leaves; and dyeing was painstaking and expensive. But in 1856 eighteen-year-old English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way to mass-produce color in a factory.

Working on a treatment for malaria in his London home laboratory, Perkin failed to produce artificial quinine. Instead he created a dark oily sludge that turned silk a beautiful light purple. Mauve became the most desirable shade in the fashion houses of Paris and London, but its importance extended far beyond ball gowns. It sparked new interest in industrial applications of chemistry research, which later brought about the development of explosives, perfume, photography, and modern medicine.

With great wit, scientific savvy, and historical scope, Simon Garfield delivers a fascinating tale of how an accidental genius set in motion an extraordinary scientific achievement.

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