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Quiz about The Colour Mauve
Quiz about The Colour Mauve

The Colour Mauve Trivia Quiz


When William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered the first artificial dye in 1856, no-one could have foreseen the impact it would have. This quiz was inspired by "Mauve", the biography of Perkin by Simon Garfield.

A multiple-choice quiz by bucknallbabe. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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Author
bucknallbabe
Time
6 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
309,980
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
5 / 10
Plays
1995
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. William Henry Perkin accidentally made an artificial mauve dye in 1856. How old was he at the time? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The discovery of mauve dye was accidental because William Perkin was really trying to make something else. What was it? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Why did William Perkin finally choose the name mauve for his new colour? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Recognising the commercial potential of his mauve dye, William Perkin decided to manufacture it himself. Where did he locate his factory? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. In the 1860s, mauve was the height of fashion. Which trendsetting European ruler helped to popularise the new colour in late 1857? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The discovery of an artificial mauve dye was soon followed by more colours. Which of these is NOT an artificial dye? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Unusually for a scientist, William Perkin became rich from his discovery of mauve dye. Which of these factors contributed to this? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Which publication, in August 1859, used the phrase "Mauve Measles" to describe the way in which the new colour became fashionable? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. "Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be. It always means they have a history."
Who wrote these words of advice?
Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. 1906 saw the 50th anniversary of Perkin's discovery of mauve dye. How was this celebrated? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. William Henry Perkin accidentally made an artificial mauve dye in 1856. How old was he at the time?

Answer: 18

William Perkin was born the youngest of seven children on 12 March 1838 in the East End of London. He attended the Arthur Terrace School until the age of 13 when he transferred to the City of London School, near St Paul's Cathedral. After some opposition from his father, he enrolled at the Royal College of Chemistry in 1853, aged 15. Upon completion of the basic course, in 1855 he became the youngest assistant of the director, August Wilhelm von Hofmann.

He discovered the mauve dye in the laboratory he had built at home.
2. The discovery of mauve dye was accidental because William Perkin was really trying to make something else. What was it?

Answer: a treatment for malaria

The only effective treatment for malaria, which was endemic in many countries of the world (including the Fens and marshes of England, France, Spain, Holland and Italy), was quinine, obtained from cinchona bark. Its chemical constituents were known and differed slightly from those of naphthaladine which had been isolated from coal tar, a waste product of coal gasification. By adding water, which contained the extra hydrogen and oxygen needed, Perkin hoped to synthesise quinine.

The alternative choices were all indirect consequences of Perkin's work which showed that the relatively new science of chemistry had a practical use and led to huge growth in the number of chemists.
3. Why did William Perkin finally choose the name mauve for his new colour?

Answer: it is French for the mallow plant

There are about a thousand species of mallows which are known for the slimy protein (mucilage) they contain. They are used in many herbal remedies and originally marshmallow sweets were made by boiling marsh mallow roots and extracting the mucilage which was useful as a cough suppressant. The flower of the Common Mallow is the light blue purple colour now known as mauve.
4. Recognising the commercial potential of his mauve dye, William Perkin decided to manufacture it himself. Where did he locate his factory?

Answer: Greenford Green

With support and financial help from his father, Perkin located his factory on a 6 acre meadow near the Grand Junction Canal at Greenford Green, near Harrow, Middlesex. Construction began at the end of June 1857 and a year later silk was being dyed mauve by Thomas Keith at his factory in Bethnal Green. Perth was where Perkin met Robert Pullar, a dyer, who was enthusiastic about mauve from the start and introduced Perkin to Keith who found the techniques to make mauve a commercial success. Leeds was where Perkin addressed the British Association in 1858 and revealed the results of his endeavours to the scientific community in general.
5. In the 1860s, mauve was the height of fashion. Which trendsetting European ruler helped to popularise the new colour in late 1857?

Answer: Empress Eugenie

The Empress Eugenie, the wife of Napoleon III, was encouraged by her husband to promote trade by wearing fashionable silk garments and soon became the leading fashion icon of her day. She was one of the first to wear mauve but the dye used was a natural one made in France where it was also called "Perkin's purple". Perkin liked the association of the word "mauve" with Parisian haute couture and adopted it instead of his original name "Tyrian purple".
6. The discovery of an artificial mauve dye was soon followed by more colours. Which of these is NOT an artificial dye?

Answer: madder

The long roots of the madder plant, when boiled, produce a red dye. Traditionally, red dyes were used for military uniforms so when Emmanuel Verguin made an artificial red dye from aniline, the same compound from which mauve dye was produced, it was in great demand.

He named it fuchsine after the fuchsia plant but the colour became known in Britain firstly as solferino and later as magenta, the names of battles in the Second Italian War of Independence where the soldiers' uniforms were of this colour.
7. Unusually for a scientist, William Perkin became rich from his discovery of mauve dye. Which of these factors contributed to this?

Answer: all of them

Perkin was canny enough to obtain a British patent for his mauve dye in August 1856 but failed to obtain a French one and dyers there exploited his discovery for their own benefit. The British Patent Office later bungled Perkin's application for alizarin, an artificial madder red with the result that he had the monopoly only in Britain and the German firm BASF had it elsewhere. Crinoline dresses, another of the Empress Eugenie's fashions, used huge amounts of material which increased the demand for the popular mauve dye. Queen Victoria wore mauve velvet to the wedding of her daughter, Princess Victoria to Prince Frederick William of Prussia in 1858 and when she came out of mourning for Prince Albert.
8. Which publication, in August 1859, used the phrase "Mauve Measles" to describe the way in which the new colour became fashionable?

Answer: Punch

The "Punch" article described the spread of mauve as an infectious disease which affected the mind and body. Apparently, it mainly affected women as men who caught it could be treated easily "with one good dose of ridicule". "The Times" first used the word "mauve" in a "Found" notice which described "a handsome Lady's Parasol, left there by two ladies, of mauve colour, lined inside with white". " All the Year Round" was a weekly journal, first published in 1859.

As well as publishing the serialisation of "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens, the September issue also included an article "Perkins's (sic) Purple" which discussed the importance of chemistry for trade. "Once a Week" was a rival journal to "All the Year Round", published by the proprietors of "Punch".
9. "Never trust a woman who wears mauve, whatever her age may be. It always means they have a history." Who wrote these words of advice?

Answer: Oscar Wilde in "The Picture of Dorian Gray"

"The Picture of Dorian Gray", Wilde's only published novel, appeared in 1890, at the start of the "Mauve Decade". During this decade, mauve became associated with homosexuality, succeeded later by lavender and in the 1970s, pink.
10. 1906 saw the 50th anniversary of Perkin's discovery of mauve dye. How was this celebrated?

Answer: All of them

Perkin's scientific contributions were celebrated by several hundred chemists at the Royal Institution in July 1906, in the same room where the schoolboy Perkin had sat in on lectures by Michael Faraday. There followed a busy year at the end of which Perkin complained of exhaustion.

After picking up a virus, he succumbed to double pneumonia and appendicitis and died on 14 July 1907, aged 69.
Source: Author bucknallbabe

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