Dyes have always been an important sought after substance in civilization. Some of the earliest and most valuable colors were red, blue, yellow, and purple (the most famous royal color. Blue comes from a plant called Indigofera tinctoria, and its fluid has to be soaked and fermented before it turns indigo. This is because the fermentation under alkali conditions split the glucose unit, making the color. Purple comes from a shellfish in the Mediterranean area, the Murex. A gland on this crustation has the ingredients to make this royal purple. Because of the expense of this color, it was restricted to the kings and emperors in many areas. Producing both of these colors was a long, intensive process and had a large industry.
Then a German chemist by the name of Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer synthesized indigo. The industry changed and from there, declined to a cheap, small labor. This lead to many other productions of synthetic dyes, including one made by an 18-year old boy.
The color you see when looking at a dye comes from the light that reflects off the substance. The rest of the spectrum is absorbed. Double bonds and OH molecules usually cause this. Some of the other expensive colors created were red and yellow. These too were eventually synthesized to make them much cheaper and available to the spectrum of colors we have today.
I do agree with the author on the impact of dyes in today’s society. Many of the southern plantations were built on indigo and look at the outcome of that, the equality of men in America. This industry has created tows and societies. It has changed wars, and it has helped us to create the modern industrial age.

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2 thoughts on “Dyes

  1. gracehstafford

    It was cool reading someone else’s take on this chapter! It could have used a good proofreading and maybe some additions about mauve, other than that I believed you did a very good job!

  2. emeryedington

    I’m just happy that everyone can wear puple now! Haha

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