Dress fabric and a silk skein dyed with mauve, c 1856-1858.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A length of dress fabric and a silk skein both dyed with mauve, mounted in a wooden frame. They were donated by Miss Annie Florence Perkin, daughter of William Henry Perkin, in 1947. The fabric and skein may have been dyed by Robert Pullar of John Pullar & Son of Perth, Scotland, in 1856 or 1857, as a similar length of dress fabric was donated by the Pullar family to the Perth Museum in 1938. In 1856, whilst attempting to synthesise quinine for the treatment of malaria, 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.