The history of textile dyes

The history of textile dyes

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For a very long time, thetextile dyeswere exclusively of origin "natural". The preparation ofcolor bathsit took place from roots, shrubs and leaves; less ethical and more rare, was the preparation of color baths starting from animal derivatives: for centuries, the scarlet red that colors the robes of cardinals, was obtained from two different species of cochineals.

Initially, thetextile dyesthey were applied only to natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool and silk. In the worldtextilethings began to change in 1858, when Perkin, assistant director of the Royal College of Chemistry in London, patented the firstsynthetic textile dyederived fromtarof hard coal. The color in question was a bright violet, which was then destined to become a cult of thetextile industryfor silk dyeing. Later, with the same process, Perkin managed to obtain a red color tending to fuchsia.

At the Universal Exhibition which was held in London in 1862, guests could already admire many fabrics dyed with the new coloring substances, those derived fromtar.A few years later, thesynthetic dyeshad already displaced the natural ones because they were much cheaper to obtain: there was no need to wait for a new harvest, agricultural cultivation was no longer needed ... just a few chemical components, tar and a good laboratory to obtain the dyes necessary for the coloring of fabrics.

The history oftextile dyescan be summarized as follows:
Natural dyes (henna with extractsLawsonia inermis, natural horsetail tinctures, blueberry extracts, blackberry sprouts tinctures, lichens, madder ...) used until 1858.
Synthetic dyes used that had almost completely supplanted the natural ones starting from 1877. These two phases are not the only turning points for thetextile industry. Much changed with the advent of synthetic fabrics: new type of textile fibers such as perlon, nylon and dralon, forced thetextile industryto look for new onesdyes. The fibers of these fabrics were not very reactive so it was necessary or to change thetextile dyesor carry out a process ofdyeingdifferent… a process ofdyeingvery complex and only in recent years thedyeingof these synthetic fibers has been incorporated directly into the manufacturing process, sometimes causing considerable damage to the environment.

The diatribes related to the world oftextile dyesthey continue to this day. Only last year, a carcinogenic component contained in the Greenpeace laboratories was highlighteddyesof clothing distributed by major brands. Not only that, the process ofcoloringemployed bytextile industrywould cause great damage to the environment due to poor management of tar extracts and derivatives.

Video: In Search of Forgotten Colours - Sachio Yoshioka and the Art of Natural Dyeing (August 2022).