Fuchsine or magenta: the second most famous aniline dye. A short memoir on the 150th anniversary of the first commercial production of this well known dye
During the mid-nineteenth century, it was learned that the distillation of coal tar yielded a mixture of benzene and toluene that could be used for the manufacture of ?anilines.? Oxidation with dichromate led to the first synthetic aniline dye, mauveine. The second aniline dye, a crimson red color, now is named fuchsine or magenta. This dye was prepared using the same starting material, but different oxidants, e.g., tin chloride, mercury nitrate, arsenic acid, and nitrobenzene. Unlike mauveine, which is now a chemical curiosity, fuchsine is still in use as a biological stain, especially in Schiff's reagent for detecting aldehydes, industrially as a dye in coloring various materials from textile fibers to ball point pen inks, analytically as a visualization agent for thin layer chromatography, and as an antifungal agent.