From Encyclopedia Britannica:

The typical (mystery item) is a sheet of glass that is coated on its back with aluminum or silver that produces images by reflection. The (mystery items) 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 (mystery item) making. Present-day (mystery items) are made by sputtering a thin layer of molten aluminum or silver onto the back of a plate of glass in a vacuum. In (mystery items) 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 (mystery item), 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 (mystery item’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.) (Mystery items) may have plane or curved surfaces. A curved (mystery item) is concave or convex depending on whether the reflecting surface faces toward the centre of curvature or away from it. Curved (mystery items) in ordinary usage have surfaces that are spherical, cylindrical, paraboloidal, ellipsoidal, and hyperboloidal. Spherical (mystery items) produce images that are magnified or reduced–exemplified, respectively, by (mystery items) for applying facial makeup and by rearview (mystery items) for automobiles. Cylindrical (mystery items) focus a parallel beam of light to a line focus. A paraboloidal (mystery item) may be used to focus parallel rays to a real focus, as in a telescope (mystery item), or to produce a parallel beam from a source at its focus, as in a searchlight. An ellipsoidal (mystery item) will reflect light from one of its two focal points to the other, and an object situated at the focus of a hyperboloidal (mystery item) will have a virtual image.

(Mystery items) have a long history of use both as household objects and as objects of decoration. The earliest (mystery items) were hand (mystery items); those large enough to reflect the whole body did not appear until the 1st century AD. Hand (mystery items) 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 (mystery item) production. The (mystery items) 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, (mystery item) making was practiced extensively in London and Paris. Generally, (mystery items) 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 (mystery items) that adorned the state rooms.

From the late 17th century onward, (mystery items)–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 (1648-1721) often produced elaborately carved (mystery item) frames to match a complete decorative ensemble. The tradition soon became established of incorporating a (mystery item) into the space over the mantelpiece: many of the early versions of these (mystery items), usually known as overmantels, were enclosed in glass frames. The architectural structure of which these (mystery items) 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 (mystery items). On the whole, (mystery item) 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 (mystery item) itself.

By the end of the 18th century, painted decoration largely supplanted carving on (mystery items), the frames being decorated with floral patterns or classical ornaments. At the same time, the French started producing circular (mystery items), usually surrounded by a Neoclassical gilt frame that sometimes supported candlesticks, which enjoyed great popularity well into the 19th century. Improved skill in (mystery item) making also made possible the introduction of the cheval glass, a freestanding full-length (mystery item), 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 (mystery item) 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.

Have you figured it out? It should be patently obvious. There’s usually one right in front of you, and one on either side of your vehicle. The use of this item was part of your Driver’s Ed training (something many people failed, evidently – but that’s for another day). Got it yet?

IT’S A MIRROR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TODAY'S MYSTERY ITEM? MIRRORS!

In case you're having this read to you, and you can only understand pictures, you drooling mouth-breather, the left picture is a side-view mirror, while the right picture is a rear-view mirror...

For cryin’ out loud people. USE IT!!!! Side View. Rear View. Both. I don’t care…

You can see people coming up behind YOU. You can tell if YOU are the reason for all the incessant honking ringing in your ears. You can easily determine if YOU are the feather-footed mental midget slowly leading the pack of pissed off fellow automobilers in the left lane. Holy mother of god!!!!! USE YOUR #$@&(^$&*)^ MIRRORS!!!

thank you…

DW

c'est moi

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