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Mauve: How One Man Invented a Colour That Changed the World Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
By a rather nice coincidence, though not related to Sir William, my father, Philip Perkin, worked in colour chemistry and industrial pigment production for over forty years in the North of England and would often return home with clothes spattered with every hue imaginable, just like his namesake !!
Mauve is a must-read for those intrigued to know how an apparently innocuous laboratory development led to the establishment of today's global chemical industry and changed our world, in so many ways, forever.
"Mauve" follows on from the ground best trod by Sobel with "Longitude", and may not be as gripping, but "Mauve" is certainly one of the better popular science books I've read.
'Mauve' is a terrifically entertaining and informative read, everything a good non-fiction book should be. It tells the story of how Sir William Perkin 'sort of accidentally' discovered the first true synthetic dyestuff while trying to synthesise quinine and in the process not only made his own fortune but kick-started modern industrial chemistry as well, debatably the whole modern world. It wasn't a complete accident - people had been on the lookout for artificial colours that could be made cheaply at large scale for years - and reflected the work of an enquiring mind in a subject then dismissed as of no real importance.
Many of the themes still echo today. The process was discovered in Britain but developed further and made better in Germany, which then steamrollered the British dyestuffs industry into oblivion. It's all gone to India, now, of course. And if you think short-termism, a focus on shuffling money about, a sniffiness about innovation and lack of government support for industry and entrepreneurs is a modern disease, think again; they were very much there in the 19th century too.
Also very much echoing today is the downside of chemicals. They are dangerous in the wrong hands and much of this went pell-mell into products that exposed people to real danger. Just like today, the industry was often arrogant and defensive about it, while the popular press raised hysteria with no sense of proportion.Read more ›
A great story well told.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
lost my original at this price I could not fail to buy, a very interesting book no need to be a chemist to enjoy. Book is very good condition arrived after 3 days.Published 2 months ago by Mr. S. K. Webb
This is a biography with explanations by the author. Fully detailed, human, with much historical information as to colour and its context.Published 12 months ago by Judith Joseph
I read it twice without a pause between! My kind of story. Up there with and perhaps beyond, 'Longtitude'Published 16 months ago by Howard Grey
This was recommended by John Carey in his autobiography and so I got it. It really is good and will rove interesting to both scientists and non-scientists alikePublished 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
Please to track down a second hand copy and arrived in good time. well written and enjoyable combo of science and biography ...Published on 7 April 2013 by Pandora Black
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