William Henry Perkin

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Perkin, William Henry


(the Elder). Born Mar. 12, 1838, in London; died July 14, 1907, in Sudbury, Middlesex. English organic chemist. From 1853 a student of A. von Hof-mann at the Royal College of Chemistry in London; later became Hofmann’s assistant. President of the Chemical Society in 1884–85.

In 1856, Perkin obtained the purple dye mauve, one of the first synthetic organic dyes; he set up a factory for its commercial production. In 1868 he discovered a method for preparing aromatic unsaturated (β-arylacrylic) acids. Perkin also studied the relationship between the structure of a compound and the rotation of the plane of polarization of light in a magnetic field.


Meldola, R. “W. H. Perkin.” Journal of the Chemical Society, 1908, vols. 93–94, no. 554, PP. 2214–57.