Who Invented Colors?

No one invented colors! They are mere perceptions. Asking who invented colors would be like asking who invented smell or who invented vision or people? Our ancestors, the early humans, used mud, rocks, berries and even insects etc. as colorants. Colorants are substances used to impart color and their history predates writing. Why do we have colors, is a commonly asked question. It is true that all the objects around us can be perceived in black and white without much of a problem but identifying colors certainly gives us an evolutionary edge. Identifying food and predators are two of the most important functions of having a colored vision. Atheistic pleasure of viewing the world in color is also something which is incomparable.


Colors are basically electromagnetic rays of different wavelengths. They have energy and all bodies absorb energies only in form of certain wavelengths. Say, if a flower doesn’t absorb yellow color then it would seem yellow to us because it only that color it is reflecting. This follows that if there is no light falling on an object, it would not have any color! Color is not an inherent property. Although pigments have been in use as colorants since 1400 BC but it is William Henry Perkin, an English chemist, who is credited with having invented the first mauveine in 1856. Mauveine was the first synthetic organic dye. It is also known as aniline purple or Perkins’s mauve. William Henry was only 18 when he discovered the dye.

Category: Inventions
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