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Was the Mirror Invented earlier than you Thought?

Hello there! Did you know the mirror might have been invented much earlier than you thought?

Was the Mirror Invented earlier than you Thought?

When Was the Mirror Invented?

The mirror is a commonly used object in modern society, serving various functional and aesthetic purposes. But when was the mirror invented? The history of mirrors and reflective surfaces dates back to thousands of years ago, where our ancestors used natural materials, like shiny rocks or metal sheets, to catch reflections of themselves.

Early History and Origins

The use of reflective surfaces dates back to ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The ancient Egyptians used polished copper mirrors around 2900 BC, while the ancient Greeks used highly polished bronze discs as mirrors during the 4th century BC. Roman mirrors were made from highly polished bronze or silver, with its back often decorated with a relief scene.

The use of reflective surfaces was not limited to just personal grooming or vanity purposes. In some traditions, it was believed that mirrors could be used to see into the world of spirits and communicate with the afterlife. For example, in Japanese folklore, mirrors are considered to be a portal to the spirit world, where ghosts and supernatural beings reside.

The First Mirrors

The first true mirrors were made from polished metal, until the Chinese developed the technique of making bronze mirrors during the Han Dynasty. By 1st century AD, these mirrors had become common objects in China, and the Chinese had even discovered the optical properties of concave mirrors.

In the 16th century, Venetian glassmakers discovered the technique of making mirrors from glass. They used a technique called "silvering" where they coated the back of the glass with a layer of silver, which produced a highly reflective surface. These glass mirrors became highly prized among the wealthy and were often given as gifts to royalty and aristocrats.

The Evolution of Mirrors

The silvered glass mirror remained the benchmark of mirror technology until the 19th century. In 1835, German chemist Justus von Liebig developed a process for depositing a thin layer of metallic silver onto a glass surface, which proved to be more durable than the previous method. This invention resulted in a significant increase in the production of glass mirrors, reducing the cost, and making them more accessible to the wider population.

The invention of mirrors made from other materials, such as acrylic, polycarbonate, and other plastics, followed in the 20th century. These lightweight, shatterproof, and inexpensive mirrors became a popular choice for various applications, from automotive parts to security mirrors.

Today, the mirror technology continues to evolve, with the development of smart mirrors, which incorporate technology such as touchscreens, cameras, and voice assistants. These advanced mirrors are used in various applications such as beauty and healthcare, retail, and home automation.


The history of mirrors is a rich and fascinating one, spanning thousands of years and many cultures. From the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to the modern-day smart mirrors, the development of the mirror showcases the ingenuity and creativity of humankind. The next time you look into a mirror, take a moment to appreciate the rich and fascinating history behind this simple yet essential object of our daily lives.

The Cultural Significance of Mirrors

The mirror is a ubiquitous object in modern life. It is so essential that people can hardly imagine living without it. However, for thousands of years, no one knew how to create a reflective surface by which one could see oneself. Our curiosity about our appearance has led us to invent the mirror.Mirror inventors have been traced to ancient times; their basic material was polished stone that was highly reflective, such as obsidian, a naturally temperamental glass, and tin mixed with mercury. Although the origins of the mirror remain obscured, one thing is certain, and that is that the mirror has played a key role in human civilization.

The Mirror in Art

Mirrors have been a subject of artistic contemplation for centuries. They have served as a motif that produces complex interplays of fantasy and reality, truth and illusion, self-portrait and reflection.Early innovators used mirrors in painting or drawing to reflect different angles of a subject’s appearance. With time, this technique became more sophisticated, and artists learned to use the mirrors to represent their subjects realistically. In the modern-day, artists, such as Louise Bourgeois and Yayoi Kusama, have used mirrors in their stunning installations, accentuating the concepts of disorientation and infinite reflection.

Mirrors in Mythology and Folklore

Mirrors are brimming with symbolism and cultural connotations. Some ancient Eastern cultures thought of mirrors as magical divining instruments that could see beyond the physical realm. Others regarded mirrors as mainstays of vanity and pride.In Greek mythology, the image of the water's surface served as a reflective mirror that could determine the purity of one's soul and give the means to evaluate oneself in a careful manner. In Chinese folklore, mirrors are seen as gateways to other dimensions and were believed to offer protection from evil spirits.

Mirrors in Daily Life

Mirrors serve a more practical purpose in our daily living. They aid us in grooming, helping us check our appearance before leaving the house. Mirrors also add aesthetic value to a room; on a basic level, they can create the illusion of a larger space, but they also can be considered pieces of art themselves. Mirrors have also become quite impactful in the world of commerce and advertising. Retailers use them to make stores appear larger and more appealing to shoppers, and advertisers employ mirrors to produce captivating optical illusions and entertain pedestrians.In conclusion, the mirror is more than just a mere tool to reflect ourselves; it has a compelling backstory marked by a trail of cultural significance. The mirror's role in society will continue to develop and change in ways unique to every culture and generation.

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