William Henry Perkin

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Perkin was the second son of Sir William Henry Perkin who, in 1856, discovered mauveine and went into the industry producing the first synthetic dye.
Then William Henry Perkin and Heinrich Caro put the farmers out of business.
Established in 1906, the Perkin Medal commemorates the discovery of the first synthetic dye by Sir William Henry Perkin in 1856, and, says SCI, "organic chemistry's beginnings as a major segment of the chemical industry.
Anniversaries: 1907: Death of Sir William Henry Perkin, chemist and inventor of aniline dyes; 1930: The first BBC television play The Man With a Flower in His Mouth transmitted; 1965: Death of American politician and diplomat Adlai Stevenson; 1972: Gary Glitter and the Glittermen played their first gig in Wiltshire.
E[acute accent]The Perkin Medal was created in honor of Sir William Henry Perkin (1838-1907), who at the age of 18 created the world's first synthetic aniline dye, which revolutionized color chemistry and opened up new possibilities for a whole range of industries; most notably, textiles and clothing.