Perkin Research Medal


In 1856, a chemistry student in London named William Henry Perkin found that aniline, a colorless aromatic oil derived from coal tar, could be transformed into a black gunk that, when mixed with alcohol, would turn fabrics bright purple. With patent in hand, Perkin established the artificial dye industry. Wealth and honors followed soon thereafter. In 1906, on the fiftieth anniversary of this discovery, the American Section of the Society of Chemical Industry established the Perkin Research Medal for “original and valuable work in applied chemistry.” The first Perkin Medal went to Perkin himself. This is the medal given to Leo Baekeland ten years later. The obverse has a portrait bust facing three-quarters right, and “PERKIN RESEARCH MEDAL / 1856-1906.” The inscription on the reverse reads “PRESENTED TO / L. H. BAEKELAND SC.D. / 1916 / FOR DISTINGUISHED SERVICES / TO APPLIED CHEMISTRY.” Also “Tiffany & Co. Makers 18 Kt gold.”

Date Made: 1916

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Bakelite


See more items in: Medicine and Science: Chemistry


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. William Karraker

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1982.0034.33fCatalog Number: 1982.0034.33fAccession Number: 1982.0034

Object Name: Perkin Research Medalmedal

Physical Description: gold (overall material)Measurements: overall: 38 mm; 1 1/2 in


Record Id: nmah_1764071

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