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How Does a Mirror Work?

You may have always wondered, how does a mirror work? They’re likely everywhere in your home, so might as well learn about their ins and outs. 

Although it seems like some sort of anomaly or maybe even magic, there is a real scientific explanation of how and why mirrors do what they do. 

Mirrors Reflect Light

Mirrors are microscopically smooth surfaces that reflect light photons rather than absorbing them. These reflected photons then become the mirror image that you see. That is also why you can’t see anything reflected in the mirror when it’s dark because there is no light for the mirror to reflect. 

The First Mirrors

Because any smooth surface that reflects light can be a mirror, the first mirrors weren’t made of glass. Many were made of polished stones, like obsidian, or polished metals. And of course, calm dark pools of water have been forming mirrors for thousands of years. 

Modern Mirrors

Common mirrors that you would find in your household or a store dressing room today are made of clear glass and coated with some type of metal, usually aluminum or silver. These types of mirrors are called plane mirrors, and they were first developed by European glassmakers in the 15th and 16th centuries. There are several common shapes of mirrors

  • Plane mirrors- this kind of mirror works because they are perfectly flat, they give us the most accurate reflection of the position and proportions of their subject. Most bathroom mirrors are plane mirrors. 
  • Converging or concave mirrors- these mirrors bow inward toward the middle, which magnifies the subject causing it to look larger than it actually is. Many shaving mirrors are converging mirrors.
  • Diverging or convex mirrors- these mirrors are the opposite of converging mirrors, as they bow outward instead of in. This causes the subject to appear smaller or further away, like in a driving mirror. 

Mirrors in Your Home

Mirrors in the home are not only essential for making sure you look alright before heading out, but they can also make your space look bigger by adding the optical illusion of more space. Mirrors also reflect natural light around the room and can act as a quick fix for spaces with minimal windows without adding an artificial light source. 

These days mirrors come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and frames, and can serve as functional yet stylish decor. Consider adding a statement mirror to a room that needs a little pazazz, or grouping smaller mirrors together as a cheaper alternative. 

They say that bathrooms sell homes, so if your bathroom mirrors are looking dingy or dated it could be a good idea to replace them before putting your house on the market. 

Contact Murray Glass TodayMirrors are fascinating, and a vital part of helping you look your best, and your space look its best. Now that we’ve answered the question of how does a mirror work, let Murray Glass do some mirror work for you. Contact us today for a free estimate on your next custom mirror project, we serve the northern Utah area, from Salt Lake City up to Ogden.

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