THE DISCOVERY OF PRUSSIAN BLUE. I posted here about how the discovery of Prussian blue in 1704 made generally available for the first time a palette of oil paints which covered the full color wheel and encouraged a great deal of exploration of advancing and receding complementary colors. Prussian blue also had the advantage that a small amount of it gave a strong tint to other colors. “Painters could now mix a much wider spectrum of colors on their palette.”
Last year, some 400 years later, Oregon State University announced the discovery of a brilliant new blue pigment. (link via Instapundit). The process involves heating manganese oxide – which is black in color – with other chemicals to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
The new pigment has a “unique crystal structure that allows the manganese ions to absorb red and green wavelengths of light, while only reflecting blue. The vibrant blue is so durable, and its compounds are so stable – even in oil and water – that the color does not fade.”
The Oregon State press release has a photo of the vivid new color.