Colors of the 19th Century

POISON GREEN----Have you heard that they think Napoleon was killed by a color??? How could that be??? Well have you ever heard of Poison green? It was invented by the German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. It was an artificial colorant made by heating up sodium carbonate, adding arsenious oxide, and stirring the mixture until it was dissolved. Copper sulfate was then added which gave it is vibrate green color.


So how did this color kill Napoleon? He had wallpaper all over his home with this color. So, he died from breathing arsenic from his wallpaper!!!!






CHROME ORANGE OR CHEDDAR--Chrome orange is a basic lead chromate which was introduce as a pigment in 1809. It was discovered by Louis Nicholas Vauquelin in the mineral crocoite in 1797. The color of the pigment can range from light to deep orange, the hiding power is excellent. The world production of chrome orange ceased a few years ago. Today’s quilters call it cheddar because of its resemblance to

cheese. Quilters who collect vintage quilts delight when they find this color in quilts.







TURKEY RED------has a blueish cast. It is colorfast and the name comes from an area in the eastern Mediterranean commonly thought of as Turkey while it encompassed many countries in that area. The process to make turkey red was a 13-20 step secret process. One step involved boiling it in an oil based

mordant. It was unknown to Europeans until mid-eighteenth century.


In 1750 the secret process was leaked to the European continent where French and English mills began producing it. It is 90% red, 9% green and 1% blue.






PRUSSIAN BLUE-------A vibrant blue became popular in the mid-nineteenth century called Prussian blue. It was introduced in the United Sates in 1832. It was also called Lafayette blue after the Revolutionary hero

who had recently visited the United States. It was common in florals, chintz-scale pillar prints and rainbow prints where the background is shaded from light to dark.