Para red

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A class of bright cherry-red synthetic organic colorants. Para red was first synthesized in 1880 by Holliday in England. The dye is made by reacting beta-naphthol with Paranitroaniline, a coal-tar derivative. Different shades are obtained by varying temperature and pH of the mixture. Para reds have fair lightfastness and are not used in artists paints because of bleeding. They were previously used industrially in metal finishes and printing inks but have been replaced with more durable colors.

Synonyms and Related Terms

paranitraniline red; Pigment Red 1; CI 12070; p-nitrobenzene-azo-beta-naphthol; Pararot (Deut.); rouge para (Fr.); pararood (Ned.); Signal red; para toner;

Chemical structure

Para red.jpg


Ingestion can cause cyanosis. Inhalation and contact may cause irritation.

Suspected carcinogen and mutagen.

Fisher Scientific: MSDS

Physical and Chemical Properties

Insoluble in water and ethanol.

Composition C16H11N3O3
CAS 6410-10-2
Melting Point 248-252
Molecular Weight mol. wt.=293.27

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966 Comment: first made by Mssrs Holliday and Sons in England in 1880
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • A.Scharff, 'Synthetic dyestuffs for textiles and their fastness to washing', ICOM-CC Preprints Lyon, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1999 Comment: first made in 1880 by Holliday
  • B. Berrie, S.Q. Lomax, 'Azo Pigments: Their History, Synthesis, Properties and Use in Artists' Materials', Studies in the History of Art , National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, No. 57, 1997
  • M. de Keijzer, 'A survey of red and yellow modern synthetic organic artists pigments discovered in the 20th century and used in oil colors', ICOM Preprints Lyons, France, Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, p. 369, 1999 Comment: Gallois and Ullrich in 1885
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Monona Rossol, The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, Allworth Press, New York, 1994
  • Colour Index International online at
  • Website: - first made in 1885 by von Gallois and Ullrich

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