The mirror today is a common household item, but in its history of existence it was both a jewel and a rarity, and a magical "window" into the world of the other world. The age of the most ancient mirrors found in Turkey is about 7, 5 thousand years, and then they were produced from obsidian.
The history of the mirror
Before the invention of the first mirror, people admired their reflection in water. The ancient Greek myth of Narcissus tells of a handsome young man who spent whole days looking at his face in the surface of the lake. However, already in those days, about 5 thousand years ago, the wealthy inhabitants of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome could purchase mirrors made of polished metal - steel or bronze. These accessories required constant care and cleaning. their surface was constantly oxidizing and darkening, and the quality of the reflection was poor - it was quite difficult to distinguish between details and colors.
In different countries in different eras, gold, copper, silver, tin, and rock crystal were used to obtain a reflective surface. Only the wealthiest people could afford such a mirror. A product similar to a modern mirror was invented in 1279 by Franciscan John Peck, who was the first to try to cover glass with the thinnest layer of lead: molten metal was poured into a glass flask, and after solidification, it was broken into smaller pieces. The mirrors obtained in this way were concave.
A little later, mirrors began to be produced in Venice. The craftsmen slightly improved the method of John Peckam and used tin foil, mercury and paper in the production. The Venetians strictly guarded their secret, in 1454 even a decree was issued prohibiting the masters of mirror business from leaving the country, and even hired killers were sent for those who disobeyed. And although such a mirror was also cloudy and faded, it remained a very rare and expensive commodity for three centuries.
In the 17th century, King Louis XIV of France wanted to build a magnificent Gallery of Mirrors in Versailles. King Colbert's minister seduced three Venetian masters with money and promises and brought them to France. Here, the technology for the production of mirrors was changed again: the French learned not to blow molten glass, but to roll it out. Thanks to this method, it was possible to produce large mirrors. The built Gallery of Mirrors delighted people of that time: all objects were endlessly reflected, everything shimmered and sparkled. And by the 18th century, mirrors had become a familiar item for many Parisians - prices for this accessory had dropped dramatically.
The French production method remained unchanged until 1835, when Professor Justus von Liebig of Germany discovered that silver plating produced a cleaner image.
How mirrors have influenced people's lives
For many centuries, people have experienced fear of mirrors, which were considered the gates to the other world. In the Middle Ages, a woman could be accused of witchcraft if this item was among her things. Later, mirrors began to be actively used for fortune telling, including in Russia.
With the advent of the opportunity to see their reflection, people began to pay more attention to their appearance and behavior. Thanks to the mirror, one of the directions in psychology was born, called reflection, i.e. - "reflection".
In modern interiors, the mirror has not only reflective functions, it is used to enhance the feeling of space and light. Correctly installed mirrors expand the boundaries of the room, make it light and cozy.