Accession number: RK.2009.138.01
Date: circa 1890 – 1940
Marks/Label: PURE PARIS GREEN POSION MANUFACTURUED BY BERGER & SONS LONDON ENGLAND
printed on the outer body of the container.
Narrative: Lewis Berger & Sons Ltd was a British paint company. Lewis Berger was a German who moved to England in 1760 in order to market Prussian Blue paint that he created with a secret formula. He opened a successful paint company that his sons helped to run in 1795. When he died in 1814, the company was taken over by his two children, Samuel and John Berger.
Description: Round container with top.
History of Use: Paris Green was originally designed as a coloured pigment. Throughout the Victorian era it was used in different applications, such as wallpaper, artwork and even clothing. The colour was created with a compound that included arsenic. Because of the consistent exposure, many people got arsenic poisoning which lead to perceived unexplained deaths. Around turn of the 20th century that doctors began to realize that the popular green dye may be the cause of many unexplained deaths. Following this revelation, there appears to have been a sharp decline in the demand for items in Paris Green and during this time the compound began to be used as a pesticide. It has mainly been used for agriculture but also malaria prevention, prior to the Second World War.