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Friday, September 17, 2010

Antique Mirrors

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"  We have all heard this famous quotation.  While new and antique mirrors are plentiful today, mirrors were a rarity in early America.  Nowadays, we hang many mirrors, not just to look at our reflections, but to reflect our home design preferences and to reflect light around the room.

Have you shopped for new mirrors?  They can be very expensive, even in a discount home products store.  Antique mirrors can be even more beautiful and less expensive as well.  There are many types of antique mirrors, though the vertical rectangular wall mirror is most prevalent.  Some of these mirrors have beautiful carvings or gilt on the frame.  Other mirrors have simple oak frames or primitive pine frames.

Shaving mirrors can still be found in antique shops and flea markets.  These are small tilting mirrors with their own stand designed to be used on top of a chest of drawers.  Some of them also have a drawer under the mirror.

Mirrors designed to go over mantels are short and wide.  Sometimes they are made in three horizontal sections.  These over mantel mirrors can still be found fairly easily.

Bull's-eye mirrors are convex and reflect a smaller area than conventional mirrors.  These are sometimes called a butler's mirror because the butler could keep an eye on the dining room with this mirror.  Often created with elaborate gold frames, bull's-eye mirrors are also widely reproduced.

Antique hand mirrors are also fairly easy to find, sometimes with other pieces of a dresser set such as the brush and small storage boxes.  I recently found a miniature antique hand mirror dsegined for a woman's purse.

Mirrors with a beveled edge are a lot more beautiful than flat mirrors, however they can be more expensiove.

It is interesting that mirrors float in their frames, with about 1/8th of an inch space left around the mirror.  This is done so that changes in temperature that expand the wood frame will not result in a broken mirror or frame.

If you have a mirror that is in very poor condition, it is possible to have the back of the glass stripped and resilvered by a professional.  If there are only a few smaller impurities in the mirror, I find this to give the piece a lot of character and would not have it resilvered.

If a mirror is broken, you may wish to have a new mirror placed in the antique frame.  The frame is the most beautiful part of the antique to begin with.

Please comment on this post and also let me know what topics interest you for future posts of Antiques for Today's Lifestyle.


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