26: Color Me Synthetic


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We look at the synthetic dye industry of the 1700s and 1800s, starting with Johann Diesbach, who invented Prussian blue in around 1706. Peter Woulfe found picric acid, a brilliant yellow compound, to be an effective dye for silk and wool in 1771. We hear the words of Dr. Jim Brazell, Professor Emeritus of English at The College of New Jersey, on early 19th-century literature by the German polymath Goethe dealing with chemistry. By the 1850s, William Perkin stumbles upon mauveine, and sent the Victorian Era crazy for mauve fashions. Baeyer discovers how to synthesize indigo dye, and Graebe and Libermann do the same for alizarin dye.

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