What History Saw as the Creation of Mirrors
Mirrors in homes today are common, as even bathroom mirrors are considered important; being functional decors used by family members for their everyday routine. Generally, mirrors go unappreciated since they have become common. Besides, users are more interested in the reflection they see in mirrors.
In reading up on the history of mirrors, one will get to discover the long journey it took for mirrors to arrive as a common household feature in modern homes. Bathroom mirrors are in fact must-haves in commercial and office buildings.
A Quick Glimpse at the History of Mirrors
Invented sometime in the 12th century in Turkey as reflective polished stones, glass mirrors came around in the 13th century. Manufacturers called master glaziers, poured hot alloy into glass tubs, which they later broke into smaller pieces once the alloy was cold.
However, the use of traditiojal glass mirrors during the Middle Ages was discouraged. Church leaders warned that the devil uses glass mirrors as portals, while watching and choosing humans that he can convince to shift into the dark side. In the meantime, it was common for palaces of kings and queens to have hallways well stacked with gilded mirrors in different shapes and sizes, as if seemingly protected by forces believed to be behind glass mirrors.
Meanwhile, fashionable ladies who could not afford to have glass mirrors in their home or as an accessory to bring in their purse, had instead used the earlier inventions of polished obsidian rocks.
In the 17th century, the Orthodox Church had explicitly prohibited priests from using and owning mirrors. Russia even considered mirror-use as a grave sin.
Obsidians by the way are igneous rocks that came from the fiery lava spewed by volcanoes. After the rocks subsequently cooled down, the igneous rocks revealed a natural glass-like quality that became reflective through polishing.
Historically, the aesthetic and functional values of glass mirrors became highly appreciated after a German scientist named Justus Von Liebig developed a chemical formulation that improved the mirror into flat pieces of glass. Thereafter, superstitious beliefs and misgivings about mirrors were no longer taken seriously and eventually dismissed.
About the Modern Day Glass Mirrors Innovated by Liebig
While the original mirrors invented in Turkey used convex polished stones and metals that produce reflections of some sort, Justus Von Liebig developed a chemical formulation of silver nitrate as reflective metal coating applied on flat substrates. The results of course were highly successful as the process is still in use today in the manufacture of high quality glass mirrors.
The chemical process is actually called silvering, which involves the act of coating a non-conductive surface material or substrate like glass, with a reflective substance. While silver and aluminum are the most popular metals used in the coating process, other metals with reflective characteristics can also be used.