Somewhere, a Chemist is Designing Bow Ties

May 2nd, 2007

In setting up the background for this post, I’m going to have to come clean about my penchant for haberdashery. Although I only wear a suit roughly three times year, I own over thirty neckties, five pocket squares (only plebeians call them handkerchiefs), and even a bow tie. I felt compelled to buy one to make my wardrobe complete—there are few fashion statements more clear than wearing a bow tie.  You’re basically saying either:

1) I am better than you and want you to know it, or
2) I am a big dork

Anyway, to match my preferred color of dress shirt, French blue, I bought a solid green bow tie from Beau Ties, Ltd. To my delight, the company has been sending me junk mail ever since.  I was recently flipping through their Spring catalog and came across the new Solids Collection:

Magnificent, aren’t they?  The online version is here. I’ve never seen chemistry used so heavily in a marketing campaign. Carbon Black? Gold Oxide?! CADMIUM yellow?!  I had no idea cadmium was yellow. (It turns out that it isn’t—the soft metal is actually silvery gray—cadmium yellow refers to its sulfur salt.)  There are even ties in the series named after organic dye molecules:

Alizarin Crimson:

and Carmine (which derives its color from carminic acid):

Pretty spiffy.  I’d say that chemistry has finally become cool, but this is an ad for bow ties, so I’ll shut up now.

Previous Comments

  1. Beth Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 7:44 am You should check out the oil paints in an art supply store. There’s cadmium red too, not to mention titanium white, zinc white, and, once upon a time, lead white.
  2. Matt J. Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 8:44 am Growing up, we didn’t have cable and were forced to watch only *shudder* network TV. Where I lived, we had the big three, an independent and a PBS affiliate. On the PBS affiliate, for some reason, I would watch a lot of Bob Ross (I have a penchant for art and painting like your haberdashery).As Beth mentioned above, the paint colors that ole Bob used had many of the same colors as you showed in this post and then the ones she listed. When I took my undergrad minerology course, I suddenly understood why these colors had their names. It was all very cool, especially from a chemist’s point of view.
  3. excimer Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 8:55 am I agree with beth. Nothing turns my head faster than quinacridone violet or phthalocyanine blue at an art store.
  4. Anonymous Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 8:59 am clearly, you need to get an ascot to truly complete your collection.
  5. Jordan Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 9:11 am Philip Ball (assoc. editor at Nature) gives a great talk on the chemistry of colour in art history. He has a book about it too — it’s called (IIRC) “Bright Earth”.
  6. bad wolf Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 9:17 am Somewhere, a chemist is making bowtie annulene 27:http://www3.interscience.wiley…../HTMLSTART
  7. McPostdoc Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 11:16 am So, basically you’re already tired of being the Bill O’Reilly of the chemical blogosphere, and so you set yourself up to be more like Tucker Carlson.Brilliant.
  8. Paul Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 11:54 am Ha…I KNEW someone was going to say that.Interesting about the paints. Art was never my thing, maybe I should check out a store for fun. And regarding Phil Ball, it just occurred to me that it’s going to be really funny in two years when chemists start leaving comments saying “HEY!! YOU SHOULD HAVE REFERENCED BALL, ET AL. IN THIS POST. DON’T YOU HAVE SCIFINDER GOOGLE?!”
  9. excimer Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 5:06 pm Why two years from now? Let’s start nowTHAT IS NOT CARBON BLACK! CARBON BLACK SHOULD BE MUCH DARKER THAN THAT. AND THAT IS NOT A LIME GREEN- IT’S MORE OF A GRUBBS GEN. 2 GREEN, LIKE ANY IDIOT WOULD KNOW. ARE THEY RETARDED? BOWTIES R GHEY LOL

    Big things are coming for this blog. And by big things, I mean all-caps trolls. Bring it on.

  10. McPostdoc Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 6:09 pm All-caps trolls? Come on, we all know REAL trolls speak l33t.AND THAT IS NOT A LIME GREEN- IT’S MORE OF A GRUBBS GEN. 2 GREEN, LIKE ANY IDIOT WOULD KNOW.

    4r3 y0u r3+4rd3d? Gr\/bb5 2n|) g3n 15 n0+ gr33n, 1+s purp13! Y0ur3 +h1n|

  11. McPostdoc Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 6:22 pm Whoops, it thought some of that l33tspeak was an HTML tag and ate half my post. Anyway, the point was its Hoveyda-Grubbs 2 that’s green, not Grubbs 2.Then it occured to me that you might have purposefully gotten that wrong for enhanced trolling effect, in which case you can simply ignore everything I just wrote.
  12. excimer Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 10:02 pm 1. Oops. I just took a look at ours- it’s reddish-purple. And Hoyveda-Grubbs is green. Let’s just say I was ultra-trollin’ that. Yeah.w00tz0rz.
  13. Hungry like the Wolfie Says:
    May 2nd, 2007 at 11:36 pm Paul is t3h r0xx0rz; he pwned Wolfie, v#0 is t3h svxx0r.
  14. Chemgeek Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 10:26 am And I’m sure the ultramarine bowtie is extracted from lapis lazuli mined in Afghanistan rather than being made from the synthetic crap.[I teach a course called the Chemistry of Art. Most artists never realize or will admit they are actually applied chemists.]
  15. anon Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 11:58 am Chemgeek,I prefer to think of chemists as applied artists.
  16. Matt J. Says:
    May 3rd, 2007 at 2:30 pm I was watching something the other day where this art professor takes his students out to the places where Cro-Magnon and others would mine the pigments for their cave paintings and have them paint pictures with paint they synthesize themselves from the pigments and some fats and such. It was all very interesting…not on topic for this, I suppose, but still interesting.
  17. AC Says:
    May 4th, 2007 at 9:15 pm paul, if you’re looking for a fantastic haberdashery with a huge selection of bow ties, i must recommend the andover shop on holyoke street. just walking into that place will transport you back to the good ol’ days when proper men wore top hats, smoked cigars, and carried canes. they also have one of the best selections of tweed blazers in the northeast, and what harvard man’s closet would be complete without some tweed to match each of his bow ties?
  18. Anonymous 10 Says:
    May 6th, 2007 at 12:05 am PaulAl Cotton is rolling in his grave over your comment about bowties. It is a piece of cloth you drape around your neck. Does it really matter if it dangles down vertically or is positioned horizontally?
  19. kevin Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 2:10 am I’m sorry but, do not wear bowties because I think that I am better than other people for doing so. Nor am I considered a dork by others for wearing one either. The people who think this of bowtie wearers are jealous at the fact that we can tie one and they can’t, and that they can’t pull off the look of one around their neck as well as we can. Which is kind of a silyy thing to be hung up over since it is just a peice of clothing after all.
  20. Paul Says:
    May 7th, 2007 at 5:08 am “Nor am I considered a dork by others for wearing one either.”I don’t know, man. I think more than a few people think “dorky” when they see a bow tie on any outfit that isn’t a tuxedo. Wrap yourself in their hatred and enjoy its warmth.
  21. Everyday Scientist » blog-roundup for Aprilish Says:
    May 15th, 2007 at 7:08 pm […] Paul at ChemBark thinks that his bowtie namer is a chemist. […]


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