"All right. Mauve"

A sample of the dyed silk
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA sample of the dyed silk - Credit: Henry Rzepa
Mauve, the pale lavender-lilac colour, originated in an accident. In 1856, chemist Sir William Henry Perkin was trying to manufacture quinine. He got some residue caught in his eye, which ended up being the first aniline dye, mauve. Perkins was able to sell his accidental discovery to the dyestuffs industry, and mauve became extremely popular in fashion. Thomas Beer dubbed the 1890s 'The Mauve Decade' and wrote a book on the subject. Perkins's discovery also encouraged manufacturers to render colours chemically rather than through natural sources, making chemistry a more profitable career area.