We’re so used to walking into our bathrooms and gazing at our reflections that many of us have forgotten to think about mirrors as an invention or entity. They might feel as if they’ve always been there, but of course, there were centuries of innovation before arriving at the modern mirror.
The history of mirrors is surprisingly interesting and engaging material. Mirrors as we know them today had their origins thousands of years in the past.
Who was the original inventor of mirrors and how does this mirror origin differ from how we use them today? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you should know.
How far back do we have records of humans using mirrors in organized society? We have to go back quite far.
The oldest mirrors discovered in the world were made not from glass but polished copper and showed up in Mesopotamia and Egypt as early as 4,000 B.C.
These copper surfaces were polished to such a degree that they allowed the person gazing at them to get a fairly vivid reflection of their own visage.
Years later, similar early mirrors made of different materials would begin to pop up around the world. Chinese mirror manufacturers would craft them out of bronze, and some civilizations in the Americas made them out of polished stone.
Of course, the very first mirrors were probably natural reflective surfaces that humans would flock to get a glimpse of their own appearance: puddles and small pools of water found around.
Crafting the Modern Mirror
What about the mirror as we know it today? Silvered-glass mirrors are a much more recent invention and belong to modern society much more than they do any ancient civilization.
The modern mirror first became popular in Germany in the early 1800s. They were technically the brainchild of a chemist named Justus von Liebig, who came up with a method of applying a thin layer of metallic silver to clear glass.
This silver layer was near-perfectly reflective. As one can imagine, they became an instant hit among much of Germany.
You can click to read more about how mirrors work in terms of their optics. Suffice to say this German version of the mirror was seen as the idealized form of earlier versions of the mirror.
As this method became more and more popular, it was eventually industrialized, and mirrors become more commonplace around the world. Today, we all have multiple mirrors in our homes, no matter where in the world we live.
Understand the History of Mirrors
If you’ve always used a mirror but weren’t clear on where they originated from, the above information can be quite helpful.
The history of mirrors is quite fascinating and stretches through much of human history. It turns out, we’ve always been interested in our own reflection.
Interested in more historical facts? Keep scrolling our blog for more.