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Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

Ever wonder how mirrors are made?

A mirror is essentially a highly reflective surface. The sorts of mirrors one sees on walls or in bathrooms are of a type known as back-silvered mirrors. This means that the reflective surface–in most modern mirrors this is aluminum–is viewed through a thin layer of glass. The glass protects the aluminum from scratching and bubbling, but also distorts the image somewhat. Early mirrors were created by simply polishing a suitable substance until it became highly reflective. Neolithic mirrors have been discovered, made by grinding down obsidian rocks and polishing them to an incredible sheen. These mirrors have remarkable properties, allowing even subtle details to be clearly seen in their reflections. Modern mirrors, however, are made using an entirely different process. By taking liquid metals and allowing them to condense on a sheet of glass, one can get a surface far more reflective than anything achieved by polish.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall.


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