April 22, 2013
Image of Mauveine 3D Image of Mauveine

Mauveine, the first synthetic organic dye, was accidentally synthesized by W. H. Perkin (age 18 at the time) in 1856 while he was attempting to make quinine. Also known as aniline purple and Perkin’s mauve, mauveine was soon used to dye silk and other textiles. In 1862, Queen Victoria popularized the color by wearing a mauveine-dyed gown.

Mauveine consists of as many as 12 molecules. The one shown here is mauveine A. The exact structures of mauveines A and B were not determined until 1994. Other structures were identified and characterized from 1997 to 2008.

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