History of Color Systems by

*with special focus on Carpet Dyes and Color Wheels

© 1990-2012 CYC All Rights Reserved (Revised 3/1/12). All material is copyrighted and protected under USA & International Copyright Law

The world of natural color around us is enhanced by the use of dyes. Color is an expression of "feeling". Color can affect our emotions. The colors we surround ourselves with create certain feelings in us and for others, especially their perception of us. Commercial enterprises place great importance on their business image. Of priority is the choice of "company colors". Colors play an important role in our economy.

Our only business is "dyeing". However, without thoroughly knowing and understanding color we would not exist. Our special objective is to impart some of that knowledge to those of you interested in our view of the world of color. That world is all about dyeing, specifically carpet and other textiles. Our goal is to change the way people think about color and carpet color.

Without question, our most interesting discovery was the color concept presented by artist Don Jusko who has created the "Real Color Wheel". His theory of color coincides with our new color technology specifically in the world of transparent colors such as those produced by dyes. Under the Color Your Carpet® color theory, the ratio of dominence of the primary colors dictates the limits and confines of changing one existing color to another.

Color Your Carpet® dyes and related formulas are proprietary. They are only available for application by our authorized Certified Dye Technicians and Dye Masters. While the below timeline is selective for our technological purposes, we have included some important highlights concerning the introduction, discoveries or status of certain textile and chemical industries.  

"An interpretation of Pythagoras' teachings, which maintained that the root of all harmony was to be found in the positions of the planets between the earth and sphere of fixed stars; the linear arrangement of colors according to Aristotle, who was probably the first to investigate color mixtures; and finally a personal intepretation of Plato's color-system taken from his Timaios, according to which the eye does not receive light, but rather transmits a ray of vision towards an object."

1611 - Finland - The oldest known color system is credited to astronomer, priest and Neoplatonist Aron Sigfrid Forsius (1569-1637). In his color circle , between the colors Black and White, Red has been placed on the one side since the classical antiquity, and Blue on the other; Yellow then comes between White and Red, pale Yellow between White and Yellow, Orange between Yellow and Red.

1613 - Belgium - Franciscus Aguilonius (1567-1617) was a Jesuit priest in Brussels when his color diagram appeared in 1613 in a work on optics. It is possibly the oldest system to use the trio of red, yellow and blue wherein colors are defined within a linear division

1656 Carman, a transparent magenta lake replaced Dragon's Blood and Madder Lake, none were really permanent.

1659 - Holland - Rembrandt (c.1606-1669) Dutchman artist Rembrandt understood the color theory that yellow darkened to brown and red was half yellow, so it too darkened to brown. A problem arises when the brown is darkened with black instead of its opposite color Ultramarine Blue.

1672 - England - Isaac Newton (1642-1726) devises the first color wheel . His theory "Optics" had the right idea, dividing the prism and bringing it back together again. However he choses the wrong colors, magenta and cyan were missing. Magenta doesn't show up in a crystal spectrum. It was 32 years later before his color theory was published.

1700 English Vermilion Dark, synthetic, similar to the cool dark Chinese Vermilion, Antimony Vermilion, Mercuric Sulfide Vermilion (which will blacken some colors), Mercuric Iodide Vermilion (impermanent), and Eosine Vermilion with the fugitive coal-tar dye Eosine. Since all are opaque today, Cadmium Red is a better choice and cheaper. The color is almost the same.

1705 Bister, a transparent yellow to brown, duel-tone color made from charred beechwood. Mainly a water-color pigment.

1724  Prussian Blue, a dual-tone transparent color that was getting close to cyan in its transparent undertone. The deep mass color has a black-green quality that produces a "dirty purple", nice green's though. Iron and the gas "cyanogen". Heated Prussian Blue made a permanent Prussian Brown.

1731 - France - Jacques Christopher Le Blon, (1667-1742), invented the fundamental three-color palette and demonstrated his system with many dyes, however he did not extend his ideas to a properly organised colour-system.

1755 - Germany - Mathametician Tobias Mayer  (1723-1762) develops color theory by math, but his selection of triad colors (Red, Blue and Yellow) created . Two years later, Mayer tried to identify the exact number of colors which the eye is capable of perceiving.

1766 - England - The first known use of a color wheel was developed by Moses Harris (1731-1785), this one had Red, Yellow and Blue but he included Black as the only neutral.

1772 - Germany - Astronomer J. Heinrich Lambert (1728-1777) presented the first three-dimensional color-system.

1772 - Austria - Ignaz Schiffermüller published his color-circle in Vienna based on four colours, red, blue, green and yellow.

1775 - Germany - Tobias Mayer's color triangle was first published by the Göttinger physicist George Christopher Lichtenberg.

1788 Emerald green, a copper arsinate (and the most poisonous color) can't be matched by any other element. Also, it turns lead and cadmium to black.

1780 Cobalt Blue Imitation. Cobalt aluminate blue spinel, replaced natural cobalt calcined oxide by 1802, never to be the right color again.

1788 - England - Mosas Harris and Gainsborough made an eighteen color wheel , again with no Cyan or Magenta. They also placed Ultramarine Blue opposite Orange, a long lived mistake.

1790 - England. A new color wheel, the first made for light instead of pigments. Using Red, green and blue as primaries, credited to Movwell of Great Britain.

1809 - Germany - Philipp Otto Runge's color wheel has White at the top and Black on bottom, the colors wrap around the middle of the sphere, He choses the wrong primary colors: Red, Yellow, and Blue opaque plus the pigment Black for shades.

1800  Artists now had a transparent triad palette in tubes for the first time. The three mixed into a neutral dark that could be pushed warm or cool.
        1.Transparent duel-toned Indian Yellow.
        2.Transparent duel-toned Madder Lake, (close to Magenta).
        3.Prussian blue, an iron based transparent color close to Cyan.

1810 - Germany - Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749-1832) makes a double intersecting triangle color wheel. A six color wheel without Magenta or Cyan. Blood red was opposite Emerald Green instead of Cyan.

1810 - Germany - The painter Philipp Otto Runge introduced his version of a color-sphereconstruction after eight years work with colors.

1826 Permanent Alizarin was discovered in natural root Madder Lake, the purpurin was subtracted with sulfuric acid.

1828 Synthetic Ultramarine, Blue, is made from clay, soda, sulfur, coal and heat.

1839 - France - A twelve color wheel is made by chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul (1786-1889). Yellow, Red, and Blue again, wrong complements, wrong after images, Yellow is not opposite purple, Ultramarine Blue is not opposite Orange and Red is not the complement of Green. His complements in "Simultaneous Contrast of Color" made mud. He never completed his solid model and he was unable to discover a law of colour harmony.

1858 Verguin discovers Magenta (fuchsin), the 2nd basic dye which at the time superceded the use of Mauve.

1859 - England - James Clerck Maxwell (1831-1879), physicist, published his "Theory of Colour Vision", which is seen as the origin of colorimetry . (quantitative color measurement).

1859 - Italy - Magenta was the new name of a rich pink-purple color which was derived from the bloody location of a battle in Italy even though Magenta is not blood red. It was transparent, but fugitive. Also called Solferino.

1860 - Germany - A German discovery, "Cobalt Violet", (Cobaltous Crystalline Phosphate, calcined cobalt oxide and phosphorus oxide), was a cool Magenta color, and required to make colors that fall between between Magenta and Cyan including Ultramarine Blue and Azure, (no other element can make this color). It sometimes contains arsenic and darkens (Cobaltous Oxide Arsenate).

1862 - Japan - Japanese color wheel was recognized, five colors, White, Yellow, Red, Ult.Blue and Black under a new color theory. Yellow came from White, Blue from Black, no Magenta or Cyan. The internal prism spectrum is similar.

1868 - Germany - New German colors introduced Manganese Violet, (Manganese Chloride, Phosphoric Acid and Ammonium Carbonate), a permanent cool Magenta.

1868 - England - Architect William Benson proposed and published his cuboid system, the first of his many color-cubes.

1870 - New opaque, permanent colors discovered Cerulean Blue (Cobaltous Stannate: cobalt oxide and tin oxide).

1874 - Germany - Wilhelm von Bezold (1837-1907) introduces his color-cone . based on Red, Green and Blue as primaries.

1874 - Germany - Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), psychologist and philosopher, introduces his color-sphere which has eight basic colors: white and black are placed at the poles, and the equator comprises eight colors-green, green-blue, blue, violet, purple, red, yellow and yellow-green which form a circle with grey at its center.

1878 - Austria - Physiologist Ewald Hering (1834-1918) theorizes three opposing sets of colors, Yellow and Ultramarine Blue, Red and Green, and Black and White. A different concept in its time which opposed the purely phenomenal or physical understanding of colors

1879 - USA - American Nicholas Odgen Rood (1831-1902) makes a double cone color model, his "scientific" color-circle, which he had constructed on the basis of experiments using rotating discs, a color-point being placed precisely opposite its complementary partner. It had White on top and Black at the bottom, Red, Green and Blue as the triad. Although a major contribution to color, Magenta and Cyan were still absent.

1881 - France - French Artist Seurat, (1859-1891) tauts "pointalism ", the new scientific way which includes the folly that Red is the opposite of Green, although they do vibrate there is no harmony.

1886 - Germany - The first and at the same time the last standard of pigment colors for artists is presented by A. W. Keim, of "Deutche Gesellschatf zur Forderung rationeller Malverfahren" (the German Society for the Promotion of Rational Methods in Painting).

These colors were deemed necessary by selected "best" artists to set up control for the pigments in colors in an attempt to guarantee the color's characteristics and ingredients.
        1. White Lead
        2. Zinc White
        3. Cadmium Yellow Light, Medium and Orange
        4. Indian Yellow
        5. Naples Yellow Light and Dark
        6. Yellow to Brown, Natural and Burnt Ochers and Sienna
        7. Red Ocher
        8. Iron Oxide colors
        9. Graphite
        10. Alizarin Crimson Madder Lake (a Magenta colored fugitive pigment)
        11. Vermilion
        12. Umbers
        13. Cobalt Blue, Native and Synthetic
        14. Ultramarine Blue, Natural and Synthetic
        15. Paris-Prussian Blue
        16. Oxide of Chromium, Opaque and Transparent Viridian
        17. Green Earth
        18. Ivory Black
        19. Vine Black

NOTE: INDIAN YELLOW DUEL-TONE and unmatchable NAPLES YELLOW (maded of ANTIMONY LEAD) were considered indispensible to the proper color standards. But, these colors were eliminated by CHURCH-OSWALT from their color chart due to England's implemented policy.

1890 - Thomas Young and Von Heimholtz developed the wave theory of light.

1905 - USA - American painter Albert Henry Munsell (1858-1918) creates an " eight color wheel". His wheel was absent Cyan and his color opposites were incorrect. He darkened the colors with Black, mixed them with Gray, and tinted them with White, and numbered them all. This is still taught today.

1909 - Cadmium Red was discovered.

1915 - USA - In Munsell's publication of his Color Atlas, he introduced an order of colors - also known as a "color tree " due to its irregular outer profile grouped around a central vertical grey-scale. Munsell constructed his system around a circle with ten segments, arranging its colours at equal distances and selecting them in such a way that opposing pairs would result in an achromatic mixture (compensativity).

1916 - Germany - Wilhelm Ostwald  (1853-1932), the Nobel-prize winner for chemistry, compiled his Die Farbenfibel (The Colour Primer). His color circle was acually two cones which met at the flat circumferences of the top circles. The last color wheel (square) of college record was by Church-Ostwald. It has Yellow, Red, Sea Green and Ultramarine Blue at the corners.

1923 - USA - Introduction of the first color-matching cabinets in which a sample could be matched under a variety of light sources. Prior to this only daylight, which is very inconsistent, was used to match colors.

1950 - USA - ROYGBIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) is the " seven color wheel", out of order and dispels the unity of opposition.

More evidence that the color wheel has been misunderstood by every generation since, in and out of college.
1990 - USA - A new " color theory" is created by Color Your Carpet, Inc. for on-site re-dyeing of textiles, specifically carpets and rugs. The theory is applied to the system's proprietary dyeing process. Much like electronically produced colors, the spectrum is capable of millions of colors. Since carpet fibers (those that are re-dyeable) are actually transparent, and dyes are water based and therefore transparent as well, then the dyes that are in place from the factory can be re-dyed by introducing specially formulated dyes that "bond" with the existing dyes to become a "new color". This was the first true introduction of "God's colors" - Cyan, Magenta and Yellow (NOT Red, Yellow & Blue) as the true primaries and the true basis of all colors in transpaent color theory.

1992 - USA - A new "color wheel " is produced by the "Color Wheel Company" that is based on CYMK (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Black) using thin film plastic and half-tone dpi (dots per square inch) colors.

This color wheel is sold to printing, graphics and textile companies. Very limited in practical use since only 40,000 colors are possible to display. In these industries, just like on a computer, 16 million+ colors are possible (depending on the number of available dye sites) in true transparent color when dyes are the coloring medium.
1995 - USA - Daniel Smith prints a "Color Square " using the "LAB" color chart. With White and Black being the poles, this system is for not the artists who need to work with true opposition, however, it's better suited for the photo and printing industries. This model has the opposition colors, Yellow and Blue, on the top and bottom. Magenta and Green are at the sides. A plus and minus number system relates the square with these colors as the primaries.

1996 - USA - A brilliant new "color wheel" called the Real Color Wheel", is created by "Don Jusko". This new theory more truly represents transparent colors and their relationship to each other.

There are twelve to thirty six base colors in the "Real Color Wheel", which joins the pigment and the light color wheel together as one, and agrees with the nature of your eyes "afterimage."

TODAY - Worldwide - The main issues with current color wheels, except the " Real Color Wheel", which is not yet available to the public, are the lack of defined differences of :

1.    opaque colors (paint/pigments - solid mediums) and
2.    transparent colors (dyes - liquid mediums) and
3.    light colors (sunlight or electronic reproduction of light - gas mediums) colors.
Example: No attention is given to the fact that all COLOR WHEELS ARE THE SAME.
All color wheels produced use YELLOW, RED, ULTRAMARINE BLUE as the primary colors with MAGENTA, CYAN AND GREEN as the secondary colors. It just can't be made to work, mathematically or scienticifally or for consistency in art. Part of the problem is that Magenta can not be distinguished in the projected prism light spectrum.
The FUTURE - A "Real Color Wheel" made of true dyes imbedded on thin transparent nylon sheets is "in the works".

In the meantime, our Franchisee Coach, Brandon D'Imperio has developed a proprietary program for our system that color matches the complete spectrum of 16 million plus colors for our Dye Masters and Technicians to use in the field and in the lab. This program actually is calibrated to our unique dyes and calculates, the existing carpet color formula, the precise measurement of dyes needed to create a custom color change or correct a discoloration on an existing carpet and finally will produce a color revealing the results after the dye formula is applied. Quite an advance in our technology and in the world of carpet color overall! 

More to come . . . .

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