Bottle containing containing mauveine salts, c 1863-1864.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A glass display jar containing a mauveine salt with a mauve ribbon tied round its neck, one of a group of three displays jars of mauveine salts donated by Miss Annie Florence Perkin, the daughter of William Henry Perkin, in 1947. In 1856, whilst attempting to synthesise quinine for the treatment of malaria, William Henry Perkin (1838-1907) managed to extract a brilliant purple dye, subsequently named mauveine. His manufacture of this and other aniline dyes was a great commercial success and he went on to create the modern synthetic dyestuffs industry and introduce a new range of colours into human life. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1866 and knighted in 1906.