Dossier:Drebbels Perfect red

From Cornelis Drebbel
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On the discovery of a red dyestuff by Cornelis Drebbel.
Later exploited in a factory by his sons in law.

According to some stories, Drebbel's discovery was a complete accident, the result of some tin and aqua regia falling into a bowl of water dyed with cochineal. But I suspect Drebbel actually stumbled across the new dye during his alchemy experiments. Tin and aqua regia (a combination of nitric and hydrochloric acids) were often used in alchemy. Alchemists worked with red dyestuffs like cochineal, too, because red was the color of the fabled philosopher's stone — the mythical substance that was supposed to transmute base metals into gold and bestow eternal life on its creator. (Amy Butler.)