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Polished Metal on the Wall…

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Hey, Curious Camp Folks!

It’s something that we all do—probably at least a few times every day! Checking your reflection to make sure you’re looking good and don’t have any boogers or spinach in your teeth is a ritual people have been practicing since before mirrors even existed! People would use ponds, streams, and lakes for reflective purposes as a sort of primitive mirror.

The first mirrors to actually be constructed were first made around 6000 years ago. They were made from stones that had been polished down to a smooth, reflecting surface. This took patience as well as methods of trial and error. If black volcanic glass obsidian was able to be acquired, it provided was much easier to create a reflective surface. The volcanic material was created as it cooled rapidly after volcanic activity.

Nowadays, a major part of a mirror is glass. But glass has more transparent than reflective properties, so it needs to be coated in order to reflect light. Metallic coatings of silver, gold, and chrome would eventually prove themselves to be the best for the job. These mirrors made of metal alloys or precious metals, however, were very valuable items that were only afforded by the rich in ancient times.

Mesopotamian Mirrors
The ancient people in Mesopotamia were one of the first to switch from stone-polishing to metal-polishing to make their mirrors a rough 4000 years ago.

Reflect like an Egyptian
Ancient Egyptians discovered polished copper was a great metal for mirror-making. They became experimental with their mirrors, adding ornate frames to border their round mirrors.

Check yourself in a Chinese Mirror
In China, they took it a step further and made their mirrors from metal alloys—a combination of tin and copper and sometimes bronze too. This was the very beginning of our modern means of making mirrors.

Thanks to all the preceding processes and experimentations of our ancient ancestors, flawless mirrors are a part of every household. So give your reflection some attention today and be thankful that you’re able to check yourself with such crystal clarity in that reflective window. As always, thanks for reading, Camp Fans!


- John


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