mirror


mirror
mirrorlike, adj.
/mir"euhr/, n.
1. a reflecting surface, originally of polished metal but now usually of glass with a silvery, metallic, or amalgam backing.
2. such a surface set into a frame, attached to a handle, etc., for use in viewing oneself or as an ornament.
3. any reflecting surface, as the surface of calm water under certain lighting conditions.
4. Optics. a surface that is either plane, concave, or convex and that reflects rays of light.
5. something that gives a minutely faithful representation, image, or idea of something else: Gershwin's music was a mirror of its time.
6. a pattern for imitation; exemplar: a man who was the mirror of fashion.
7. a glass, crystal, or the like, used by magicians, diviners, etc.
8. with mirrors, by or as if by magic.
v.t.
9. to reflect in or as if in a mirror.
10. to reflect as a mirror does.
11. to mimic or imitate (something) accurately.
12. to be or give a faithful representation, image, or idea of: Her views on politics mirror mine completely.
adj.
13. Music. (of a canon or fugue) capable of being played in retrograde or in inversion, as though read in a mirror placed beside or below the music.
[1175-1225; ME mirour < OF mireo(u)r, equiv. to mir- (see MIRAGE) + -eo(u)r < L -ator -ATOR]
Syn. 6. model, epitome, paradigm.

* * *

optics
 any polished surface that diverts a ray of light according to the law of reflection.

      The typical mirror is a sheet of glass that is coated on its back with aluminum or silver that produces images by reflection. The mirrors used in Greco-Roman antiquity and throughout the European Middle Ages were simply slightly convex disks of metal, either bronze, tin, or silver, that reflected light off their highly polished surfaces. A method of backing a plate of flat glass with a thin sheet of reflecting metal came into widespread production in Venice during the 16th century; an amalgam of tin and mercury was the metal used. The chemical process of coating a glass surface with metallic silver was discovered by Justus von Liebig in 1835, and this advance inaugurated the modern techniques of mirror making. Present-day mirrors are made by sputtering a thin layer of molten aluminum or silver onto the back of a plate of glass in a vacuum. In mirrors used in telescopes and other optical instruments, the aluminum is evaporated onto the front surface of the glass rather than on the back, in order to eliminate faint reflections from the glass itself.

      When light falls on a body some of the light may be reflected, some absorbed, and some transmitted through the body. In order for a smooth surface to act as a mirror, it must reflect as much of the light as possible and must transmit and absorb as little as possible. In order to reflect light rays without scattering or diffusing them, a mirror's surface must be perfectly smooth or its irregularities must be smaller than the wavelength of the light being reflected. (The wavelengths of visible light are on the order of 5 × 10−5 cm.) Mirrors may have plane or curved surfaces. A curved mirror is concave or convex depending on whether the reflecting surface faces toward the centre of curvature or away from it. Curved mirrors in ordinary usage have surfaces that are spherical, cylindrical, paraboloidal, ellipsoidal, and hyperboloidal. Spherical mirrors produce images that are magnified or reduced—exemplified, respectively, by mirrors for applying facial makeup and by rearview mirrors for automobiles. Cylindrical mirrors focus a parallel beam of light to a line focus. A paraboloidal mirror may be used to focus parallel rays to a real focus, as in a telescope mirror, or to produce a parallel beam from a source at its focus, as in a searchlight. An ellipsoidal mirror will reflect light from one of its two focal points to the other, and an object situated at the focus of a hyperboloidal mirror will have a virtual image.

      Mirrors have a long history of use both as household objects and as objects of decoration. The earliest mirrors were hand mirrors; those large enough to reflect the whole body did not appear until the 1st century AD. Hand mirrors were adopted by the Celts from the Romans and by the end of the Middle Ages had become quite common throughout Europe, usually being made of silver, though sometimes of polished bronze.

      The use of glass with a metallic backing commenced in the late 12th and early 13th centuries, and, by the time of the Renaissance, Nürnberg and Venice had established outstanding reputations as centres of mirror production. The mirrors produced in Venice were famous for their high quality. Despite the strictures of the doges, Venetian workmen succumbed to the temptation to carry the secrets of their craft to other cities, and, by the middle of the 17th century, mirror making was practiced extensively in London and Paris. Generally, mirrors were extremely expensive—especially the larger variety—and the wonderment created at the time by the royal palace at Versailles was due in part to the profusion of mirrors that adorned the state rooms.

      From the late 17th century onward, mirrors—and their frames—played an increasingly important part in the decoration of rooms. The early frames were usually of ivory, silver, ebony, or tortoiseshell or were veneered with marquetry of walnut, olive, and laburnum. Needlework and bead frames were also to be found. Craftsmen such as Grinling Gibbons (Gibbons, Grinling) (1648–1721) often produced elaborately carved mirror frames to match a complete decorative ensemble. The tradition soon became established of incorporating a mirror into the space over the mantelpiece: many of the early versions of these mirrors, usually known as overmantels, were enclosed in glass frames. The architectural structure of which these mirrors formed a part became progressively more elaborate; designers such as the English brothers Robert and James Adam created fireplace units stretching from the hearth to the ceiling and depending largely for their effect on mirrors. On the whole, mirror frames reflected the general taste of the time and were often changed to accommodate alterations in taste, frames usually being cheaper and hence more easily replaced than the mirror itself.

      By the end of the 18th century, painted decoration largely supplanted carving on mirrors, the frames being decorated with floral patterns or classical ornaments. At the same time, the French started producing circular mirrors, usually surrounded by a Neoclassical gilt frame that sometimes supported candlesticks, which enjoyed great popularity well into the 19th century. Improved skill in mirror making also made possible the introduction of the cheval glass, a freestanding full-length mirror, supported on a frame with four feet. These were mainly used for dressing purposes, though occasionally they had a decorative function.

      New, cheaper techniques of mirror production in the 19th century led to a great proliferation in their use. Not only were they incorporated into pieces of furniture, such as wardrobes and sideboards, but they were also used extensively in decorative schemes for public places.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mirror — Mir ror, n. [OE. mirour, F. miroir, OF. also mireor, fr. (assumed) LL. miratorium, fr. mirare to look at, L. mirari to wonder. See {Marvel}, and cf. {Miracle}, {Mirador}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A looking glass or a speculum; any glass or polished… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mirror go — is a type of elementary Go opening strategy. It refers to all go openings in which one player plays moves that are diagonally opposite those of this opponent, making positions that have a rotational symmetry through 180° about the central 10 10… …   Wikipedia

  • Mirror — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otros usos de este término, véase Mirrors. Mirror es un término usado en Internet para referirse a un servidor FTP, página WEB o cualquier otro recurso que es espejo de otro, es decir, tiene una copia de la… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mirror — Mir ror, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Mirrored}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Mirroring}.] 1. To reflect, as in a mirror. [1913 Webster] 2. To copy or duplicate; to mimic or imitate; as, the files at Project Gutenberg were mirrored on several other ftp sites around… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mirror — Mirror, The a British daily ↑tabloid newspaper owned by Mirror Group Newspapers. It usually supports the Labour Party …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • mirror — [n] glass that reflects image cheval glass, gaper, hand glass, imager, looking glass, pier glass, polished metal, reflector, seeing glass, speculum; concepts 443,470 mirror [v] copy, reflect act like, depict, double, echo, embody, emulate,… …   New thesaurus

  • mirror — [mir′ər] n. [ME mirour < OFr mireor < VL * miratorium < mirare: see MIRAGE] 1. a smooth surface that reflects the images of objects; esp., a piece of glass coated on the reverse side as with silver or an amalgam 2. anything that gives a… …   English World dictionary

  • mirror — index copy, impersonate, mock (imitate), reproduce Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • mirror — n *model, example, pattern, exemplar, ideal, standard, beau ideal …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • mirror — ► NOUN 1) a surface, typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, which reflects a clear image. 2) something accurately representing something else. ► VERB 1) show a reflection of. 2) correspond to. ORIGIN Old French mirour, from Latin mirare… …   English terms dictionary

  • Mirror — looking glass redirects here. For other uses, see Looking Glass (disambiguation). This article is about wave reflectors (mainly, specular reflection of visible light). For other uses, see Mirror (disambiguation). A mirror, reflecting a vase A… …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.