In addition to adding meaning to life, colors have been positioned as a form of expression in many societies and cultures. Maybe we used them as a tool sometimes to express our sadness and sometimes to reveal our difference. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the expressions of colors from fashion to art, from architecture to design and even to our ideas are very effective. Because colors can also represent danger in traffic and trust in a brand.
Today, we can use all the colors we know in almost everything, and we can obtain even the softest and most intermediate colors, from our homes to our clothes, to our vehicles. But of course, this was not always the case for humanity. Before the 20th century, for example, it was not possible to obtain all color pigments. For example, some colors could not be revealed as easily as others. In addition, some colors in nature had to be reproduced by synthetic means in order to be used in a consumable way. Of course, although production improved over time, there were some colors that required more labor and were produced by more expensive processes. For example, the color called royal blue at that time, perhaps, with a class distinction, showed its process and the cost it could be under its own name.
Green, on the other hand, was one of the difficult and limited pigments to produce for commercial use, although it is abundant in nature and offers us hundreds of different shades that are perfect for each other. For a while, traders and artists tried to find ways to make this pigment shine. However, the desired green pigments were not discovered until 1775.
Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele achieved a dark green hue from copper arsenic after experimenting on arsenic. Shortly after Scheele's green was developed commercially, some variations in color were created, including Schweinfurt green and emerald green. Over time, these variations began to make their way into fabrics and dyes around the world. But unfortunately they all contained high levels of poison.
In fact, for much of the 19th century, a third of all criminal poison cases contained arsenic. Despite this, many doctors were skeptical about exactly how toxic the chemical was. Direct inference of the effect was not easy for a variety of reasons, including that many of the symptoms of arsenic poisoning mimic those of other diseases. In addition, the effect of arsenic poisoning was generally only seen on the most vulnerable members of the population, including the elderly, children and immunocompromised people.
The situation, along with the fashion for deadly shades of green, allowed her to sneak into the malls. Over time, the poison continued to kill without anyone knowing. In the 1860s and 1870s, bright green shades of arsenic were fashionable in both clothing and home decoration. Even for the western world, arsenic has become a part of everyday life, alongside wallpapers and clothing. Small amounts of arsenic could be found in cosmetics, and even white arsenic or arsenic trioxide was prescribed. Even strollers sometimes fell victim to this color.
As the popularity of arsenic grew, it began to pose more of a problem for healthy people, predominantly textile and factory workers, who were in constant contact with the poison. The workers in the wallpaper factories were most affected by this situation. The papers used to make the wallpaper had small fibrous particles that formed a fine powder. Because the grueling production process produced a lot of dust, it had a structure that stuck to the skin, eyes, and lungs of the workers.
As Slush Jobs, it is known that we love stories… We created the deadly side of arsenic based on a content of the BuzzFeed Unsolved Network channel we follow on Youtube. We wanted to share the story told there with you.
- A 19-year-old factory worker in London named Matilda Scheuer went to the doctor because she felt sick. In the factory, he took care of dusting the artificial leaves produced for hats. He spent most of his day inhaling chemicals, mainly green arsenic. He told his doctor that everything he looked at was green. Over time, the whites of his eyes turned green and he began to vomit green liquid. His death had a great impact, and an autopsy revealed that some of his internal organs contained arsenic.
- It was the middle of the 19th century, many doctors were already beginning to question it. Was arsenic really benign? Because society was currently treating him. A year after Matilda's death, a boy named Ann Amelia Turner started fighting the same battle. Dr. Orton was aware that his diagnosis of diphtheria was wrong, though he had yet to make the connection. He investigated the living conditions of the family, evaluated the cleanliness of the plumbing. Nothing was found that was considered harmful to health. As she surveyed Turner's bedroom, however, she noticed one detail that gave her pause: The wallpaper was bright green…Dr. After Orton remembered the arsenic theory, Ann wanted to test tissue samples from Amelia's body. After testing the samples, he confirmed that the cause of death was arsenic poisoning. It had caused the death of a green era…
You can also access “The Arsenic Fashion That Killed Victorians” on the BuzzFeed Unsolved Network channel here .