Improving Indigo: Science in the Colonial Laboratories and Experiment Stations, 1897–1920

Prakash Kumar*

This chapter discusses the introduction and progress of laboratory experiments in Britain and colonial India to improve the production of natural indigo in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. The primary impetus for these experiments in laboratories and experimental farms was the foray into the commercial production of artificial indigo in 1897 by the chemical-producing firm Badische Anilin und Soda Fabrik (BASF) of Germany. When artificial indigo started selling in national and international markets at a price lower than that of natural indigo, European planters based in India were forced to turn to science in ...

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