The history of the purple begins in the Phoenician mythology with its discovery by the god Gerakl himself when one day his dog bit a shell of a mollusc, the murex, and Its nose was stained quickly with this color. His companion, the beautiful nymph Tyrus, told Heracles that She only sleep with him if this was wearing a stained garment with that amazing color.
Gerakl agreed and thus the famous dye Tyrian purple emerged.
More than 250,000 mollusks, were needed to produce just 28 grams of this color, so production was extremely costly and time consuming, becoming more valuable than gold.
In Imperial Rome, only the great emperor was allowed to wear purple color, and its exclusivity and connection to power, the reasons why the garments of kings and bishops have traditionally been purple.
This is the story about how the purple transformed society, initiating all the modern chemical industry.
The history of the emergence of fashion houses, famous brands and pharmaceutical giants.
For the British Army in India in the nineteenth century, a gin and tonic (G & T) was medicinal.
At dawn, the troops drank their bitter tonic water, but officials drank it at sunset with lemon and lots of gin.
The bitter taste of quinine came – only effective treatment against malaria known back then- extracted from the bark of a tree of Peru, called cinchona. But it costs a fortune!
If instead of extracting the compound from a bark could be done in the laboratory?
Well, that is precisely what William Perkin was trying to do at home on Easter 1856. I was 17 and at 15 had begun to study at the Royal College of Chemistry.
But the experiment failed.
All he could do was the most intense and unique color ever seen
Until then, only the life of wealthy people was in color, it had to have plenty of money to afford the privilege.
That because the colors were natural and therefore costly.
And precisely this that Perkin had managed to inadvertently was one of the most difficult to obtain naturally.
What Perkin had done was create the first synthetic dye in history: THE PURPLE OF PERKIN.