Mirror glass is a type of glass that is used to construct mirrors. Obviously, ordinary glass is no good in a mirror as it is designed to be seen through rather than to reflect back an image. The glass used in mirrors, however, is designed to reflect images back. So, whatever or whoever is in front of the mirror will see a reflection in it.
Mirror glass is a form of glass but this substance will go through a special treatment process. Although the treatments here may all be different, they all have the same aim. They turn glass into a reflective surface rather than a transparent one. Early mirrors were made from metals and polished stones although these obviously didn’t work as well as modern mirrors.
Some early civilisations worked out about how to back glass to make it into a kind of mirror glass. The Romans, for example, used a variety of methods to create mirrors. These may seem a little crude today but they were fairly innovative back then. As time passed the methods used to create mirrors became more sophisticated.
Early true mirror glass is considered to have been created first by Venetian glass makers. They used mercury that was spread on to a glass base and this was probably the first time that glass was used as a truly effective base for a mirror. Here the mercury was painted on to the back of the glass to make it reflect images.
Nowadays mirror glass may still be made on the same principles (i.e. the back of the glass is coated with a reflective substance) but dangerous substances such as mercury are no longer used due to their potentially harmful effects! Many modern day mirrors are made with a special process that coats the base glass with coats of aluminium and then seals the layers with specialist paints.
Other methods used to make mirror glass include coating the glass base with silver substances. It is also more common for manufacturers to create safety mirror glasses nowadays. These are coated in a special way to make them less prone to shattering if they break. This can help minimise injury if there is an accident.
Most people will simply use mirror glass as it comes when they hang mirrors or buy furniture with mirrors inset into it around the home. Mirrors and mirror glass making methods are also widely used in commercial, manufacturing, scientific and experimental environments.