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How to make a mirror


How to make a mirror

Almost 2 centuries ago, in one of the pyramids of Egypt, archeologists discovered a strange metal disk.

On it there were no hieroglyphs, but there was a solid layer of rust. The disk was fixed on a heavy statuette in the form of a young woman.

The purpose of the disc was debated for a long time.

Some scientists claimed that it was kitchen utensils like a modern frying pan, others were sure that such disks were used as a fan.

However, it turned out that a rusty metal circle is a mirror.

How did the mirrors in antiquity?

Mirrors in ancient Egypt were made of bronze. They gave a fuzzy and dull image, and because of the high humidity quickly darkened and lost their reflective properties. Centuries passed, and in Europe they began to make silver mirrors. The reflection in them was quite distinct, but the main enemy of such mirrors was time. Silver dimmed, and besides, it was very expensive. In Russia in the houses of wealthy people there were bulat mirrors made of steel. However, they quickly lost their original shine, clouded and covered with a reddish coating - rust. Then people still did not know what to prevent damage to the reflecting surface can be quite simple: protect it from the effects of moisture and air.
We needed a thin and transparent material. For example, glass. But neither the Egyptians, not the Romans, nor the Slavs did not know how to make transparent glass sheets. Only the Murano masters succeeded. It was the Venetians who were able to optimize the process and understand the secrets of making transparent glass. It happened in the late 12th-early 13th centuries. By the way, it was the workers from Murano Island who came up with how to make a blown glass ball into a flat sheet. However, to combine a polished to shine metal surface and glass did not succeed. In the cold form they did not stick together tightly, but in the hot glass it invariably burst.
It was necessary to apply a thick sheet of glassThin metal film. And finally the technology was developed. A sheet of tin was put on a smooth marble pedestal and watered with mercury. Tin dissolved in mercury, and after cooling, a film with a thickness of tissue paper was obtained, which was called amalgam. Glass was put on top of it. Amalgam stuck. So the first mirror was made, more or less similar to the modern one. For several centuries the Venetians kept the secret of the technology of making mirrors. The rulers of European countries, and then the rich and the nobility were ready to give up most of their fortune, just to buy a mirror.

Once the Venetian Republic presented a mirrorThe French queen Maria de 'Medici. It was the most expensive gift of all received on the occasion of the wedding. The size of the mirror was no more than a book. It was estimated at 150,000 francs.

Wearing a tiny mirror was fashionableThe court of most European states. French Minister Colbert did not sleep at night, realizing that the French money literally swam away to Venice and would never return. And then he vowed to uncover the secret of the Venetian masters-mirrors.
The ambassador of France went to Venice and bribedThree Venetians who owned the secret of making mirrors. One dark autumn night on a boat from the island of Murano escaped several masters. In France, they were hidden so well that the spies could not find them. A few years later the first French mirror glass factory was opened in the Norman forests.
The Venetians ceased to be monopolists. Mirror was much less expensive. Buy it quite could afford not only the nobility, but also merchants, and wealthy artisans. The rich already did not know where else to attach another bought mirror.

Reflective glass sheet fastened on the bed, cabinets, tables and chairs. Tiny pieces of mirrors were even sewn into ball gowns.

In Spain there was a mirror torture. The man was put in a room with mirrored walls, a mirror ceiling and a floor. In the room from the whole situation there was only always a burning lamp. And from all sides the man saw only his reflection. A few days later the prisoner of the mirror room was just going crazy.
However, even the best craftsmen could not make large mirrors. And the quality left much to be desired. The glass sheet was uneven, and therefore the reflection was distorted.

Evolution of the technology of making mirrors

The French managed to make bigMirrors. On wide and long iron tables with side-stops they poured molten glass, then rolled it out with a shaft made of cast iron. But the glass was still uneven. And then sand was poured onto this sheet, and another glass was put on top and they began to move the sheets relative to each other. The work was monotonous, tedious and painstaking. To create a small mirror, two masters were engaged in polishing for about 30 hours. However, after the sand grains, the glass became opaque because of the enormous amount of microscopic scratches. Polished the glass with a small plank, imbedded in felt. This work took up to 70 hours.
After a while, all the work began to be donecars. The plaster was poured onto the round table. Using a crane, glass sheets were placed on top. Then the table was rolled up under disks of a grinding, and then polishing machine, which quickly rotated.
Subsequently, instead of tin on the glassThe surface of the steel is applied with mercury. However, all kinds and compositions of amalgam, known to mankind, gave too pale reflection, and when making master they constantly dealt with harmful mercury vapor. This technology was abandoned approximately 150 years ago. A very thin layer of silver was applied to the glass sheet. In order not to damage it, the surface was covered with paint on top. Such mirrors for the quality of reflection were almost as good as modern ones, but they were expensive. Now in the vacuum chamber, not aluminum, but aluminum is sprayed onto the glass. On 1 square meter leaves no more than 1 gram of metal, and therefore mirrors are cheap and generally available.

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