Friday, July 1, 2016

Mauve Changed the World

I picked up Rachel May's book Quilting With a Modern Slant today at the library. What an interesting piece of work. I will have to spend some more time with it as it is full of profiles of modern quilters, as well as patterns. I love quilting books that are meant to be read as well as used.

Anyway, one blurb caught my eye, p. 19 "Happy Accidents." Social history of the color mauve. A Google search ensued. I will have to check out the book now, entitled Mauve: How One Man Invented a Color That Changed the World. Here is a blurb I found on Amazon:

"In 1856 eighteen-year-old English chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way to mass-produce color. In a 'witty, erudite, and entertaining' (Esquire) style, Simon Garfield explains how the experimental mishap that produced an odd shade of purple revolutionized fashion, as well as industrial applications of chemistry research. Occasionally honored in certain colleges and chemistry clubs, Perkin until now has been a forgotten man."

Huh. Who would've thunk. Mauve is the epitome of 1980's drab in our minds today. It is actually the French word for the mallow flower, and a Wikipedia search reveals that there are many shades of the purplish color. And now I know there is a world of medical, textile, and industrial discovery behind this first synthetic dye. Mauve, the happy accident that changed the world!