The history of dyes and pigments: from natural dyes to high performance pigments

A. Abel,     DCC (Europe) Ltd, UK


This paper covers the colorants that have been used since prehistoric times until the present for dyeing fabrics, painting walls, producing manuscripts, printing and colouring plastics. The developments made by the ancient Egyptians are described, then through the Greek and Roman use of colour, especially Tyrian purple, to the pigments used by medieval artists and the developments that empowered the Renaissance. Parallel developments to improve dyes obtained from nature are considered. The birth of the synthetic organic dye industry following Perkin’s discovery of mauveine is described, and its subsequent outcome ...

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