Know any colors that changed the world?
August 10, 2009 5:48 PM Subscribe
Can you think of an example of when a color could be said to have "changed the world"?
posted by Ziggurat to Science & Nature (32 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I'm writing an article/blog post (for $$$, albeit a modest amount, so if that makes you less inclined to help, I'd certainly understand) and I'm looking for just one or two more good examples of instances where a color somehow changed the world. The examples I have so far are pretty historical, but I'm not necessarily limiting myself to that. To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, here's a couple of the ones I have already: Carmine (red dye) the trade in which was an important impetus to European expansion into the Americas; Mauve, the "invention" of which paved the way for chemistry to take its place as an important science for industry; Red (ochre), the first color used in human art; Indigo, like carmine, was a desired pigment and was instrumental in expanding world trade.
A couple other things I researched, so far fruitlessly, were things like:
The lead in white face paint favored by English royalty at one time, caused health issues. I was looking for a case where that could be linked to the premature death of someone historically important, but I couldn't find anything.
In science, is there any case where a particular breakthrough happened in a way that was somehow related to color. Or is there some important invention that could only exist because of a particular color (as in the mauve example above)
Beyond that, I'm open to other ideas, as long as they're very related to a particular color, and were "world changing".
What I'm not really looking for are cases where a color may be a symbol of something...i.e. Red as a symbol of the Soviet revolution, and, later, communism as a whole. I know that distinction may be a bit arbitrary, but hopefully it makes sense!
Thanks a lot!