Google Doodle celebrates 180th birth anniversary of Sir William Henry Perkin

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The reach of today's Doodle is limited to the United States, west coast of South America, the UK and a few other European countries, India, Japan and Indonesia.

Sir William Henry Perkin, who introduced brightly coloured clothing to the masses and laid the foundation of today's chemical and pharmaceutical industries was honoured by Google, on his 180th birthday, with a doodle on Monday.

Born in London on March 12, 1838, William Perkin was the youngest of the seven children of George Perkin, a successful carpenter.

Perkin was an 18-year-old lab assistant when he accidentally discovered purple dye mauveine while cleaning out a beaker from a failed experiment.

Hence the people wearing purple in the Google Doodle, a color too expensive for most people to wear, he made accessible to nearly all.

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Following his invention, Perkins quickly focused on the patenting, manufacturing and commercialisation of this purple dye. Purple clothing was in demand and in style then, but was available only to a certain section who could afford it.

At the age of 14, Mr Perkin attended the prestigious City of London School - setting him on a path of scientific discovery. "Perkin's strong and inexpensively produced mauveine finally made this once-exclusive color readily accessible, igniting a violet fashion frenzy", writes Google. Queen Victoria is said to have worn a mauveine-dyed gown to the Royal Exhibition of 1862.

In 1856, Perkin carried out a series of experiments to manufacture quinine from aniline, an low-cost and readily available coal tar waste product, working in his makeshift laboratory at his home.

In 1906, on the 50th anniversary of his discovery, Perkin was knighted for his contribution of mauveine.

Sir William Henry Perkin passed away in 1907 after suffering from pneumonia and is buried in Harrow.

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