Research chemist William Perkin was trying to make quinine when he instead came up with a substance that has ensured the world is a brighter place.
“… For that privilege, thank a young Victorian research chemist. His attempt to create the anti-malarial medicine quinine from coal tar in his flat in Cable Street in the East End of London went serendipitously wrong as he worked over Easter 150 years ago… . Appropriately, considering the origins of Perkins’ colour, he was to receive a helping hand from the two most famous women of the day - both empresses.
"Queen Victoria caused a sensation when she stepped out at the Royal Exhibition in 1862 wearing a silk gown dyed with mauveine. In Paris, Napoleon III’s wife, Empress Eugenie, wowed the court when she was seen wearing it. To propel the scientist further on the way to a great fortune, the fashion of the time was for crinoline skirts that, happily for him, needed a lot of his revolutionary new dye.”
The entire article is fascinating!