When I saw Simon Garfield’s book on the color mauve, I checked it out of the library immediately. I wasn’t a mauve enthusiast, but the idea of a whole book about one color was intriguing. William Perkin(1838-1907) was experimenting with coal tar, in hopes of finding a cure for malaria, but instead noticed an intense purple color in his beaker. Perkin pursued the manufacture of mauve, a world awash in shifting purple pinks.
Because it is also Orange Tuesday, I will mention another coal tar dye called Methyl Orange. It changes color, from red in acid, to yellow in base.