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Caledon Jade Green

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Caledon Jade Green was developed by chemists at Scottish Dyes Ltd, Grangemouth (later ICI Dyestuffs Division), during the 1920s. The bright and highly colour fast green dye for cotton became an immediate success and remained in production into the 1970s. Its full name was Caledon Jade Green XBN, known in the factory simply as Colour 313.

Colour 313 was a Vat Dye and had to be reduced with sodium hydrosulphite (sodium dithionite) which made the inert dyestuff water soluble. It also changed the colour to a dark purple. The fabric was agitated in this solution and the fabric took up the dye. Afterwards it was oxidised back to the green colour with potassium dichromate solution.

The chemistry of dyestuffs can be very complex, and the early dyes were generally derived from natural/organic materials such as plants. By the 19th century, chemists were beginning to develop synthetic dyes, which had the advantages of brighter colours and improved colour fastness (resistance to fading). However, one colour problem persisted, the absence of a good green dye. Shades of green had been developed before Caledon Jade Green, generally produced by blending blue and yellow dyes, but the results were generally deemed unsatisfactory.

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