Mirrors - How its made

no bathrooms complete without one and

any parent will tell you that no

teenager can survive without one mirror

mirror on the wall how do they make you

after all

well how it's made is about to show you

but first let's reflect on the history

of mirrors the earliest mirrors were

curved pieces of highly polished metal

such as brass or bronze they're even

mentioned in the Bible then in the 14th

century the Venetians invented very

crude glass mirrors that reflected off

the metallic backing they later

perfected this technique using an

amalgam of tin and Mercury eventually

the secret of mirror making spread to

other cities by 1835 a German chemist

developed the silver-backed mirror that

we know today a mirror starts out as

clear glass a robot lays each panel

horizontally on a conveyer belt which

transports it to the washing station

they're Spurrier's blast the glass with

water and cerium oxide a powder derived

from a type of Earth rotating brushes

scrub and polish both the top and bottom

surfaces removing oils and other

contaminants this washing process takes

about a minute per panel next sprayers

rinse the glass with piping hot

demineralized water demineralized

because the minerals in plain tap water

would damage the metals they apply next

the first metal is liquefied tin which

goes on what will be the back of the

mirror it allows the second metal silver

to adhere because silver won't stick

directly to glass the silver is also in

liquid form mixed with a chemical

activator within seconds of interacting

with the tin it hardens and as it does

you begin to see a reflection it's this

silver backing that transforms clear

glass into a mirror sprayers rinse off

the excess silver which gets recycled

back into the system

the factory will seal this silver

backing with two coats of paint paint by

itself however isn't enough to protect

the silver in the long term so they

first spray on a layer of copper

sprayers rinse off the excess copper

then the panel passes through a dryer at

71 degrees Celsius this evaporates the

moisture on the surface in just 75

seconds now the paddle passes copper

side up through what's called the Curt

encoder a machine that runs a continuous

curtain of paint across the conveyor

belt with its fresh coat of paint the

mirror then passes through an oven

heated to 99 degrees Celsius after a

minute and 45 seconds

the paint is cured now the second coat

of paint there's no reason for the

different color other than to

differentiate the coats the curing

period this time is twice as long and at

a higher temperature 118 degrees Celsius

after an acid wash to remove any metal

residues they stand the panel upright to

inspect it if they find a fault such as

a bubble in the glass they cut that

portion out

the factory now cuts these large panels

into whatever size and shape the

customer has ordered using a special

mirror cutting machine that's precision

guided by computer software it scores

the mirror using a carbide wheel carbide

is a strong metal to make round mirrors

the machine first stores the panel into

squares then in each square it scores a

circle using special tools workers

separate the squares than the circles

to make beveled mirrors they use what's

called the shape bevel machine first it

carves out the edge then polishes it to

a shine using concentrated cerium oxide

a stronger version of what they used

earlier to clean the glass surface

before plating it with metals mirror

factories also ship whole panels to

shops that do the cutting themselves a

fragile feat that's certainly not for

the superstitious if you have any

comments about the show or if you'd like

to suggest topics for future shows drop

us a line at www.madamebridal.com