MSS 0097, Item 171 - John Motion Coats Laboratory notebook of dye recipes


John Motion created this book of dye recipes in 1891. Motion recorded recipes for various dyestuffs and often included samples showing a dye’s effect on cotton and wool thread or fabric. Most recipes include a description of the mordant (the substance that fixes the dyestuff to a material), the dyestuff solution, and the dyebath, as well as directions for heating solutions and the length of time needed for each step of the process. In addition to recipes for natural dyes, such as fustic, logwood, and sumac, Motion also included recipes for synthetic dyes. These experiments begin on page 30. Some of these synthetic dyes are named after their chemical composition, such as Benzo-purpurine, but others reference contemporary culture, including “Victoria Blue,” “Bismark Brown,” and “Mikado Orange.” Motion sometimes included the chemical formulae for the dyestuffs described.

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