Among the many amusing and curious articles which the amateur mechanic can turn out, metallic mirrors having concealed designs on them, and which can be brought into view by breathing on the polished surface, are both funny and easy to produce. To produce steel mirrors either tough bronze or good cast mottled iron discs should be used, and the design should be on the bottom of the cast disc, as this is the soundest and densest part of the metal. The method of working is different with bronze and iron, and bronze will be dealt with first.

The cast disk of bronze should be turned up level on both sides, and the edges should be turned or shaped up, the metal being about half an inch thick. On the side which was at the bottom in casting, a line should be drawn to allow for working up the border or frame of the mirror, and on the rest of the smooth surface the design should be drawn, not having too much detail. It is best to mark the lines with a sharp scriber, to prevent their effacement during working. When the disk is marked out, it should be laid on a smoothly planed iron block, and the lines punched to a depth of about 1/4 inch, a punch with round edges being used. Then the disk should be turned down to just below the surface of the punched-in metal, and the border or edge formed, finishing smoothly, but without burnishing. The back can be turned down and, with the outer edge, burnished; but the inside of the edge and the face of the mirror should be polished with fine abrasive powder, and finished with fine rouge. When dry, the mirror will appear equally bright all over; but when breathed on the design will show, again disappearing as the moisture is removed. The metal punched in will be more dense than the rest of the surface, and will also be very slightly raised, this being imperceptible unless the polishing has been too long continued.

With iron mirrors a good mottled iron must be used, selecting hematite for preference; but in any case it must be chill-able metal. Preferably it should be melted in a crucible, as this causes the least change in the metallic content, and as the metal can be made hot and fluid, it works well. The design must be worked out in iron of about 1/8 inch in thickness, and must be level, as it has to touch the molten metal in the bottom of the mold. If preferred, the design may be cast and ground flat, but this depends largely on the design. The chill pattern should be coated with plumbago, and in molding the disk pattern of about J inch in thickness should be laid on a board, and on this the design—chill—should be placed, and the mold should be rammed up from the back in the ordinary manner. The casting should be allowed to get cold in the mold, and should then be removed and dressed in the usual way. It should then be ground bright all over on emery wheels of successively finer grades, and the mirror surface should be buffed and polished until a steely mirror surface is produced. With a good mottled iron the chilled design will not show until the surface is breathed on or rubbed with a greasy rag, but will then show clearly.