Littell's Living Age/Volume 145/Issue 1869/Definition of the Color Indigo

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Littell's Living Age
Volume 145, Issue 1869 : Definition of the Color Indigo

Originally published in Nature.

Newton denoted by the name of "indigo" the tint of the spectrum lying between "blue" and "violet." Von Bezold, in his work on color, rejects the term, justifying his objection by observing that the pigment indigo is a much darker hue than the spectrum tint. Prof. O. N. Rood, who follows Von Bezold in rejecting the term, brings forward the further objection that the tint of the pigment indigo more nearly corresponds in hue (though it is darker) with the cyan-blue region lying between green and blue. By comparing the tints of indigo pigment, both dry and wet, with the spectrum, and by means of Maxwell’s disks, it appears that the hue of indigo is almost identical with that of Prussian blue, and certainly does not lie on the violet side of "blue." Indigo in the dry lump, if scraped, has, however, a more violet tint; but if fractured or powdered, or dissolved, its tint is distinctly greenish. Prof. Rood considers that artificial ultramarine corresponds much more nearly to the true tint of the spectrum at the point usually termed "indigo," and he therefore proposes to substitute the term "ultramarine" in its place, the color of the artificial pigment being thereby intended.