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Does the Science Museum, London, have Perkin's Original Mauve Dye? A Critical Reassessment of a Chemical Icon

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For many years the Science Museum has displayed Perkin's ‘original mauve dye'. The true historical significance of this specimen is considered in the context of the development of mauveine chemistry in the early 1860s and by comparison with similar specimens of the colorant in other museums. Because it is a crystalline sample of mauveine acetate, it cannot be earlier than 1862. This is also true of the other specimens, including one example with an excellent provenance but which is now missing. Finally, its approximate dating having been established, the place of this ‘original mauve dye' in the ranks of mauve relics is reconsidered.
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Keywords: Chemical Samples; History of Dyes; Mauve; Museums; Perkin

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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