Information about the History of Spherical Mirrors in Human Civilization Essay 2021

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Mirrors shaped like pieces cut out of spheres are referred to as spherical mirrors. Concave and convex mirrors are two types of spherical mirrors. Our purpose in this article is to explore the different types and structures of spherical mirrors.

What are spherical mirrors?

Mirrors with concave or convex surfaces are spherical and are part of real spheres. The two different types of spherical mirrors are concave and convex. Shaving mirrors and makeup mirrors are common examples of concave mirrors. Everyday life is the setting for these mirrors, so it is not surprising that they serve a common purpose. In addition to magnifying objects nearby, they also help reduce glare.

The wing mirrors on cars on the passenger side are a typical example of convex mirrors. In comparison to flat mirrors, convex mirrors can be used for a greater range of applications, however, objects that appear in them generally appear smaller (and so placed at a greater distance) than they are.

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History of Spherical Mirrors in Human Civilization in Detail

People used spherical mirrors as early as 30,000 years ago to reflect objects in dark still water or collect water in primitive vessels (or utensils). People used polished volcanic glass, such as obsidian, to make mirrors for the very first time – the oldest manufactured mirror. Anatolia (now Turkey) has been found to have obsidian mirrors dating back to around 6000 BC. Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia both crafted polished copper mirrors around 3000 BC and 4000 BC, respectively.

Human civilization has used spherical mirrors for a long time, not just in those regions. There are also polished stone mirrors that date from around 2000 BC that were discovered in Central and South America. China has been producing bronze mirrors since 2000 BC. Examples produced by the Qijia culture represent some of the first bronze and copper mirrors.

A variety of metal alloys and mixtures, including copper and tin speculum metal, have also been found in China and India to date. The wealthiest people in ancient times owned mirrors made of speculum metal, so they were hard to make.

Sidon, present-day Lebanon, is said to have been the first to invent metal-coated glass mirrors (first century AD). In his NATURAL HISTORY, about 77 AD, the Roman author Pliny addresses the issue of mirrors with gold leaf as a backing. As human civilization developed spherical mirrors, the Romans developed the technique for creating crude mirrors. Glass was coated with molten lead when it was blown.

The mathematician Diocles wrote a famous work on burning mirrors that discussed and studied the parabolic mirror in a classical period. In Ptolemy’s time, curved, polished iron mirrors were used in a number of experiments. A huge part of his Optics is dealing with the types of mirrors- planar, concave, and convex spherical mirrors.

A physicist named Ibn Sahl also discovered parabolic mirrors during the 10th century. The famous mathematician of his time, Ibn Al-Haytham, debated about concave and convex mirrors using spherical and cylindrical geometries. The experimenter carried out several experiments with these mirrors, finding the point on them where rays coming from one point are reflected at another point. Moorish Spain also began producing clear glass mirrors in the eleventh century. Silver-mercury amalgams were used in China to make mirrors around the year 500 AD.

In the history of human civilization, spherical mirrors were also used during the Renaissance. Europe perfected a new way of coating glass with tin and mercury amalgam during the early Renaissance. It remains unclear, however, when and where the discovery occurred. Venice, a city famous for its glassmaking expertise, was famous in the 16thcentury. Following the discovery of the new method, the area quickly became a center for mirror manufacturing. Mirrors were considered a luxury during this period, so the glass ones we’re considered in this category.

A French company that produced spherical mirrors, Saint-Gobain was founded on the royal initiative. Eventually, spherical mirrors made their entrance in the history of human civilization using bohemian and german glass (which was comparatively cheaper).

German chemist Justus von Liebig is credited with the invention of the silvered-glass mirror in 1835. In the invention process, metallic silver was deposited on glass through a chemical reduction of silver nitrate, which then resulted in the deposition of a thin layer of silver on the glass. As a result, mirrors at affordable prices became more available after the process was modified for mass production. Silver is now deposited directly onto glass substrates during the wet deposition process. The production of mirrors is sometimes also accomplished by vacuum deposition of aluminum.

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Types of Spherical Mirrors

Spherical mirrors can be divided into two types, which are described as follows:

  • Concave Mirror
  • Convex Mirror

What is a concave mirror?

Spherical mirrors are made from cutting out spheres of reflective material. A concave mirror is one that has a reflective surface on one side that curves inward. Common uses of concave mirrors include shaving mirrors and dental mirrors, as well as telescopes. However, the field of view is limited due to the magnified reflection. In addition to concave mirrors, there are converging mirrors.

Details on Image Formation by a Concave Mirror

An object can be positioned differently from the mirror to form different types of images when a concave mirror is used. You can get a different size of an image (from the mirror) from numerous positions as follows:

  • When placed at infinity
  • When placed beyond the center of curvature
  • When placed at the center of curvature
  • When placed in between the center of curvature and principal focus
  • When placed the principal focus.
  • When placed in between the principal focus and pole

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What is a convex mirror?

A convex mirror is similar to a concave mirror if the reflective surface is curved outward. Mirrors with convex surfaces are used extensively in automobiles. The field of view will be larger, but the reflected image will be smaller depending on the focal length. Drivers will greatly benefit from this since their blind spots will be reduced drastically. A convex mirror is also known as a diverging mirror or fish-eye mirror. In most cases, the bulge on the outward side of these mirrors can be easily recognized.

Details on Image formation by a convex mirror

No matter where an object is positioned, a convex mirror always forms a virtual image that is erect. We can compare these types of images with those formed by a convex mirror.

  • A convex mirror forms a virtual image at the focal point of an object fixed at infinity. Images formed of objects tend to be much smaller than objects themselves.
  • The pole and focus of the mirror form a virtual image when an object is placed at a distance from the mirror. There is a huge difference in the size of this image compared to the actual object.
Structure of Spherical Mirrors
Structure of Spherical Mirrors

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The Structure of Spherical Mirrors

The sphere in which a spherical mirror resides is invariably part of an even larger one. This sphere is surrounded by a reflecting surface that touches the center of the line. Lines along this axis are called principal axes.

Points in the figure indicate where the principal axis intersects the reflective surface. This vertex is the mirror’s center, which is at point A.

C is the point on the figure where the center of the sphere has been removed to create the spherical mirror. The curvature center can be found here. In the figure, a radius of curvature is denoted by the length ‘R’ following the vertex to the center of curvature.

The focal point, marked with the letter ‘F’ in the figure, is the point midway between the vertex and the center of curvature. As shown in Figure 1 below, the focal length is the length measured by ‘F. In mirrors, it is the distance from a mirror’s vertex to its focal point.

The properties of concave mirrors are the same as those of convex mirrors, which is illustrated in the figure above. The difference between them is based on the way they reflect light rays. There are also non-spherical mirrors like parabolic reflectors. When and why do we use different kinds of mirrors?

Uses of Spherical Mirror
Uses of Spherical Mirror

Uses of Spherical Mirror

Listed below are the various uses of concave mirrors and convex mirrors.

  1. Rearview mirror– Mirrors on cars for side views form an erect image in a small format by using convex mirrors. As a result, they allow the driver to keep track of what is behind the car, while driving.
  2. Security mirrors in ATM– Close to the ATMs, there are security mirrors. Checking if someone was behind the bank customer is made easier by this method.
  3. Satellite dishes– Using a concave mirror for satellite dishes is one of its most important applications. In space, communication satellites transmit weaker signals that are amplified by these receiving devices.
  4. Headlights in car- Light sources in a car are concentrated at the center of concave mirrors in the smaller space behind the headlights. The reflected light from the focus will be parallel to the axis of the concave mirror since it strikes the mirror from the focus.
  5. Shaving mirror– The concave mirror can also be used for shaving. Mirrors with concave surfaces provide a useful visual image to the people while shaving.
  6. Dentist’s mirror: Concave mirrors aid dentists in focusing light onto the tooth for inspection.


A close look at the history of spheres in human civilization reveals a plethora of fascinating details. For its development and, even more, for its application in various fields, a series of events where needed. Ancient people considered or used the water in a vessel as a mirror when it was still or dark. Obsidian mirrors appeared with the passing of time. As a result, we discovered spherical mirrors with metal covers.

They were followed by mirrors with metal coatings. A pair of discoverers – Ibn Al Haytham and Ibn Sahl – then made the discovery of parabolic mirrors. Diocles, a mathematician who lived in ancient Greece, described these in one of his books. As well as these researches, Ptolemy also experimented with curved, polished iron mirrors and wrote a book called Optics about concave and convex mirrors. Although many scholars have attempted to find the focal length of a spherical mirror, the most challenging issue was finding the focal length.

After observing the laws of reflection, Ibn Al Haytham finally was able to find out the focal length of a spherical mirror. Scientists later discovered there are also two types of spherical mirrors: concave and convex mirrors. “All rays reflected on a mirror converge or diverge and meet at a point. This point is the focus. Spherical mirrors have revolutionized human life to such an extent that they have now become a necessary part of our everyday lives.

FAQ on History of Spherical Mirrors in Human Civilization Essay

History of spherical mirrors in human civilization

A spherical mirror is a mirror shaped like a circle that has been cut from a sphere. A spherical mirror has two types: a concave mirror and a convex mirror. Our purpose in this article is to explore the different types and structures of spherical mirrors.

Who invented the spherical mirrors?

Mirrors made of silvered glass were discovered by German scientist Justus von Liebig in 1835.

What are spherical mirrors used for?

Hence, they are useful to apply makeup or shave since they provide upright, enlarged images. They are also employed in flashlights and headlights because they project parallel beams of light, and they foster enlarged images in telescopes due to their focus.

What is the oldest mirror in the world?

In modern-day Turkey, mirrors from a site called Catal Hüyük are among the oldest known mirrors dating from around 6,000 BC. Egypt made highly polished metal mirrors from copper and bronze around 3,000 years later, along with precious metals.

In daily life where do we use spherical mirrors?

Every day, we use sphere mirrors for a variety of purposes. By using concave mirrors, dentists can see the entire surface of a tooth. Additionally, concave mirrors are used in vehicle headlights. Mirrors with convex surfaces are used in driving because convex mirrors increase viewing angles.

What was the first mirror of humans?

It is likely that the first mirrors used by humanity were pools of still, dark water, or water collected in primitive vessels.

Which mirror is used by the dentist?

With a concave mirror, the dentist can observe the mouth from a magnified perspective while refracting light as well. Consequently, the dentist can see a larger, brighter image in the mirror.

Which lens is used in the bike mirror?

Bikes as well as all vehicles are equipped with convex mirrors, which provide a large field of vision compared to plane mirrors.

What kind of mirror is used in reflecting telescope?

Reflecting Telescopes or Reflectors use a concave mirror as their primary objective, instead of optics. Reflectors are different with respect to the Other System Mirror(s), also called Secondary Mirrors.

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here we covered all topics History of Spherical Mirrors in Human Civilization, Information About the History of Spherical Mirrors in Human Civilization, History of Spherical Mirrors in Human Civilization Essay, Spherical Mirrors Class 10 pdf, Uses of Spherical Mirrors, Spherical Mirrors Class 10, Types of Spherical Mirrors, Terms Related to Spherical Mirror.

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