What is the name of the organic compound that inspired a nickname for the decade of the 1890s?


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Jason Schwarzmann Profile
A nickname for the decade of the 1890s is 'the Mauve Decade', and the organic compound that inspired this colorful pseudonym is 'Mauveine'.

It was first developed in 1856 by the chemist William Henry Perkins. He was only 18 when he developed the compound, which was almost a sort of accident as he was trying to create an artificial equivalent of quinine. During his chemical workings, he noticed an unexpected residue which caught his eye. It turned out to be the first aniline dye, Mauveine. Mauveine is also commonly known as 'Perkins's mauve', 'Tyrian purple' or 'purple aniline'.

Mauve became highly fashionable, particularly in the Victorian societies from the middle of the 1800s onwards, after Queen Victoria was seen sporting a Mauve silk gown at the Royal Exhibition. As of the early 20th century, Mauveine has been used as a food coloring, as permitted by the National Association of Confectioners in the USA.

It is worth noting that, as Mauveine faded easily, our contemporary understanding of the color Mauve is a lot lighter and less saturated then as it would have been seen a hundred and fifty years ago.

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