British chemist, born in London in 1838 and died in Sudbury (Suffolk County, United Kingdom), pioneer in the discovery and development of the anilines and establish the basis of a new industry.
Since his youth, Perkin felt a strong attraction to experimenting with chemicals, until in 1853 he/she managed to enter in the Colegio Real chemical of London even with great parental opposition. Student of the German chemist was a August Wilhelm von Hofmann, who hired him to work as an Assistant in his laboratory with only seventeen years of age. Hofmann maintained the ability to synthesize quinine through the oxidation of aniline, so Perkin in 1856 managed to separate a product from purple hue resulting from the oxidation. He/She noted that this product, also called Mallow, possessed the quality of dyed silk fabrics; quality that prompted him to open a small factory, with the collaboration of his father and one of his brothers, to produce the first synthetic dye, Mallow. Afterwards, he/she developed new dyes synthesized from coal tar.
Perkin combined its investigations in the field of chemistry with the manufacture of synthetic dyes; in 1858 the tartaric acid synthesized glycine and two years later. When Graebe and Liebermann synthesized the Alizarin (red synthetic dye), Perkin developed and patented a procedure of obtaining cheaper which allowed him to obtain the monopoly of the market. He/She also managed to synthesize the aromatic acids through a scheme known as the reaction of Perkin, used for the production of perfumes.
In 1874, he/she left the manufacture of artificial dyes and devoted himself to the research of chemical processes, in such a way that Germany was soon at the head of this burgeoning industry. In 1906 it granted the appointment of Sir.