How Mirror Made

How Mirror Made

  • Submitted By: marsyal
  • Date Submitted: 09/25/2012 1:17 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 2929
  • Page: 12
  • Views: 229

From the earliest recorded history, humans have been fascinated by reflections. Narcissus was supposedly bewitched by his own reflection in a pool of water, and magic powers are ascribed to mirrors in fairy tales. Mirrors have advanced from reflective pools and polished metal surfaces to clear glass handheld and bathroom mirrors. They have been used in interior decoration since the 17th century, and reflective surfaces on cars and in hotel lobbies are still popular in modern design. Mirrors are used for practical purposes as well: examining our appearance, examining what is behind us on the road, building skyscrapers, and making scientific research instruments, such as microscopes and lasers.

The nature of modernn mirrors is not fundamentally different from a pool of water. When light strikes any surface, some of it will be reflected. Mirrors are simply smooth surfaces with shiny, dark backgrounds that reflect very well. Water reflects well, glass reflects poorly, and polished metal reflects extremely well. The degree of reflectivity—how much light bounces off of a surface—and the diffusivity of a surface—what direction light bounces off of a surface—may be altered. These alterations are merely refinements, however. In general, all reflective surfaces, and hence, all mirrors, are really the same in character.

Man-made mirrors have been in existence since ancient times. The first mirrors were often sheets of polished metal and were used almost exclusively by the ruling classes. Appearance often reflected, and in some cases determined, position and power in society, so the demand for looking glasses was high, as was the demand for the improvement of mirror-making techniques. Silvering—the process of coating the back of a glass sheet with melted silver—became the most popular method for making mirrors in the 1600s. The glass used in these early mirrors was often warped, creating a ripple in the image. In some severe cases, the images these mirrors reflected...

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