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  • History of the mirror

    The landlord Fedosya Ivanovna Fedyasheva from the story of AN Tolstoy "Count Cagliostro", sitting in a chair, was reading to her nephew a letter from a relative: "A lot of us in Petersburg have made a noise by the famous Count Phoenix, or, as he is called, Cagliostro. Princess Volkonskoy cured a sick pearl;General Bibikov increased the ruby ​​in the ring by eleven carats. .. the chamber-maid of honor Golovina withdrew the shadow of her deceased husband from the medallion, and he spoke with her, and took her by the hand, after which the poor old lady was completely crazy. .. "cases are not a writer's fantasy. Such a person existed. He appeared in many countries and everywhere he left the glory of a magician, a wizard Or a cheat, a deceiver. In fact, it was a talented hypnotist, a wonderful actor, a king of illusionists, a good physicist and an experimental chemist. He was never a count. He was born in the family of a scavenger from Palermo( a small town on the island of Sicily), his real name is Giuseppe Balsamo. At the very end of the XVIII century, the Inquisition dealt with him, took away all his property. But even after Cagliostro's death, miracles did not stop. In one of the churches came the mirrors of the "Count", and one day, suddenly, the shadows of the devils jumped over the temple. So revealed one of the secrets of Cagliostro. It turns out that the finest engraving was made on metal mirrors. If they were placed at a certain angle to each other and adequately illuminated, then unusual pictures arose. This is how Cagliostro evoked the shadows of the dead - using mirrors, the art of making of which at that time was very high.

    Before the invention of the glass mirrors we used, people tried to polish and polish a variety of materials: they really wanted to see their image. There was a stone( pyrite, rock crystal), metal( gold, silver, bronze, tin, copper).The oldest mirrors are about 5 thousand years old. This is usually gold or silver discs, carefully polished on one side and patterns on the other. In order to be comfortable to look at, a pen attached to the discs.

    The art of making glass mirrors was famous for its medieval Venice. In 1291 all glassmakers of this republic were moved to the island of Murano. The authorities explained that this was necessary for fire safety purposes, but in fact it was done to keep a strict watch over the glassworks. Although they enjoyed great respect and the title of glazier was considered no less honorable than the title of nobleman, the masters, on pain of death, were forbidden to disclose the secrets of their craft. For quite a long time, mirrors were made and sold only in Venice. However, in the XVII century, France managed to master the secret manufacture of Venetian glass. She was stimulated by the high cost of fashion products. According to the French Minister of Finance Colbert, a Venetian mirror measuring 115 by 65 centimeters in silver frames cost 68,000 livres, while Raphael's picture of the same format is only 3,000!The minister believed that mirrors threatened the country with ruin. This was not an exaggeration. French aristocrats, boasting to each other with their wealth, paid for them whole fortunes. In addition to everything, on one of the court balls the queen appeared in a dress strewn with pieces of mirrors. It gave off a dazzling radiance, but this "magnificence" cost the country too much. And Colbert decided to take extreme measures. He sent his agents to the island of Murano. They bribed two masters and secretly took them out on a small boat to France. Soon in the French town of Tour la Ville appeared the first in Europe mirror manufactory.

    In Russia in the era of Peter I, many new crafts originated, including glass. The demand for window glass, mirrors and dishes was very great,. In 1705 they began to build a manufactory on the Vorobyovy Hills in Moscow - "a stone anbar eighty-three feet in length, ten arshins in height, in which a melting furnace is made of white clay brick."There were other factories, and in Russia the mirror glass made such a huge amount that it caused surprise in many countries.

    Various architectural styles and fashions changed, but there was always a place for a mirror. XVII century - the age of the change of the strict architecture of Gothic lush baroque. Most of all, grandiose, spectacularity is beginning to be appreciated. Well, how do you do without mirrors! They were used both as decoration of walls and fireplaces in palaces, and as an ornament of modest rooms of ordinary townspeople. By the beginning of the XVIII century baroque is replaced by a new style - rococo. This is the most pampered and refined architectural style. And here, among the stucco and carved patterns, curls, heads of cupids, the mirrors perfectly coexist. During this period, entire mirror rooms and galleries are being built. In the Versailles mirror gallery, 306 mirrors, as it were, moved the walls of the room and strengthened the power of light emanating from candles and chandeliers. In the middle of the XVIII century another shift: rococo is replaced by strict classicism. But in this style there is also a place for mirrors - they decorate the main staircases, ballrooms, living quarters.

    With the beginning of the XX century, mirrors lose their exoticism. They become a familiar household item, they are increasingly used in technology. By the way, such a curious fact: one of the first, if not the very first mirror for technical( more precisely, military) purposes was used by Archimedes: the Roman fleet burned during the battle. But how? According to legend, the ancient Greek sage brought to the shore women with mirrors in their hands and placed them in a certain way. Is it possible? In 1973, the Greek engineer I. Sakkas conducted an experiment. He suggested that Archimedes used for his purposes polished copper shields polished to a mirror of brilliance, set up against about every enemy ship about a hundred wars, which on command sent reflections from their shields to the ships. Sakkas did something similar. In just 2 minutes the ship broke out!

    But "seriously" use such a "talent" mirror surface - to concentrate the sun's rays in the right direction - people have only been in the last hundred years. Nowadays, with the help of reflected sun rays, they are brewing metal, heating houses, preparing food. There are solar cells, helio-diffusers and other installations in which concave parabolic mirrors are the main working organ. The operating principle of such installations is not complex. At the focus of the mirror is placed a vessel - a pan for cooking, evaporation of water, etc., and maintenance is reduced to keeping the reflecting surface constantly directed towards the sun.

    Mirror. Engraving of the XVI century.

    With the help of mirrors increase the yield of seeds, heal them from disease. Sun-irradiated seeds germinate faster and yield higher( but if you just put them in the sun, there will be no effect - you need a "sunny bunny").Did not stay aside and medicine. Many diseases recede under the action of the sun. There are sessions of "light massage": the sunbeam, thanks to the vibrational movements of the mirror reinforced by 40 times, helps people get rid of sciatica, asthma, chronic pneumonia.

    And the giant radio telescopes? The size of some of them reaches a kilometer across, which allows you to look into the depths of the universe, not accessible to any other tools. These telescopes consist of hundreds of metal mirrors mounted on a special base. And what only there are no searchlights and lighthouses! The prototype of them served as a lantern invented by IP Kulibin in the XVIII century. It was a series of mirror plates, in front of which a regular candle was placed.

    Mirrors in the interior of the room. Book illustration of the artist. F. Tolstoy

    Mirror, as is known, is part of microscopes, telephoto lenses, optical resonators, incandescent lamps, medical devices, cameras and so on and so on. In short, it is impossible to enumerate all the fields of application of this seemingly "frivolous" invention of man.

    Do you know?

    Who measured the speed of light with mirrors? American physicist Albert Michelson.

    Concentrator of solar energy, as it was represented by the anonymous designer of the end of the XVIIII century. French engraving.