Mirrors have been used since ages, both as a household item and as a piece of decoration. The typical mirror is a sheet of glass, coated with aluminum or silver at its back that produces reflection of the objects shown to it. The modern mirrors are made of a combination of glass and metal. It is interesting to note that the initial mirrors were simply polished surfaces, made of metals like bronze and copper. The production of mirrors underwent drastic changes, in times to come, to evolve into what they are today. This article dwells at length on the enthralling history of mirrors. Read on to know how they originated.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Mirror
The history of mirror can be traced back to the ancient times, when people first noticed their reflection in water bodies, such as ponds and rivers. At that time, they used to consider it magic. Ancient Greeks, Egyptian and Romans are believed to have used the mirror for the first time. It comprised of a disk of metal, with a face that was highly polished to reflect an image. Usually, the mirror carried a handle and at times, some designing on the back. The first used mirrors were made of molten bronze or copper and were round, oval or square in shape. These mirrors were polished to new, whenever rust developed. Later, mirrors were also made of tin, silver and even gold, in ancient Rome.
In the third century AD, glass mirrors came to be commonly used in Egypt, Gaul, Germany and Asia Minor. The earliest known glass mirrors were around three inches in diameter. They rose in popularity due to the discovery of a method by artisans, which helped them churn out flat thin glass and spread hot metal onto it, without shattering the glass. By the 12th century, glass mirrors began to be used in Germany, Italy, and finally in England. However, even during this time, many people used metal-manufactured mirrors, as they had a better reflection. In the 14th century, the breakthrough of glassblowing method paved the way for the invention of convex mirrors
Before the introduction of convex mirrors, which allowed the reflection to appear larger in the centre, all the mirrors were either flat or plane. It was the invention of convex mirrors that led to a meteoric rise in the popularity of glass mirrors. Around the same period, experiments were on to produce mirrors with liquid metals. One such experiment involved an amalgamation of tin and mercury, resulting in the development of mercury mirrors. In 16th century, the production of glass mirrors was refined by the artisans in Venice. They used a sheet of thin reflecting metal to support a plate of flat glass. Fat mirrors were produced by leveling out glass cylinders. The reverse side of the mirror could then be covered with a mixture of tin and mercury.
The mirror production process was introduced with another radical change in the 19th century, when it was discovered that metallic silver could also be used to coat a glass surface. This discovery galvanized the mirror production industry and also led to its expansion, from a few places in the world to all across the globe. In 1903, another method was pioneered by a Russian immigrant residing in the U.S, which led to the production of a two-way mirror, or a transparent mirror. The modern mirrors that are produced today are coated with a thin layer of molten silver or aluminum onto the back of a section of glass. The aluminum may also be evaporated from the front surface of the glass, depending on the purpose of the mirror.