For those who are not aware of August Wilhelm von Hofmann, he had hypothesized how it might be possible to synthesise quinine. Quinine was an expensive natural substance which was instrumental in the treatment of malaria. Perkin, who had become one of Hofmann's assistants, began to conduct a series of experiments to synthesise quinine.
It was during his series of experiments which were primarily conducted at a crude lab in his apartment, he accidentally discovered 'mauveine'. He sent the samples of the substance he had discovered to a dye works in Perth, Scotland and received promising reply. After this he patented the product in his name, and all this at the age of 18.
His discovery came at a time when England was undergoing industrial revolution. His dye became popular due to multiple factors which included adoption of a similar color by Queen Victoria of England.
William Henry Perkin went to synthesize glycine in the first laboratory preparation of an amino acid with B.F.Duppa. They synthesized tartaric acid in 1860. In 1867 he also discovered a chemical process for preparing unsaturated acids. By about 1874, he abandoned manufacturing and devoted himself to research and studied not just chemical processes but also optical rotation of various substances.
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