Husky Walter Kijowski melts into likeness of hippo when he checks silver backing of completed mirror.  Distortion is caused by planned use of curves in fine plate glass




Crazy-mirror inspectors Dominie Kozak (in red sweater) and Arther Michaux take time out to view reflections.  Mirrors (l. to r.) stretch body, elongate legs, and lengthen torso

Head of Richard Brandsletter wavers crazily as he examines silver solution coating glass


WE CAN broaden the head, swell the stomach, and shorten the legs," the worker said seriously.  "Of course, on the other hand, we can also stretch the legs, flatten the stomach, and produce a wonderfully pointed pinhead.  It all depends on where we throw the curve."  He was not a grade B-movie scientist planning a Frankensteinian monster, but one of small group of technicians who make millions of Americans grin, giggle and shriek in the nations amusement parks.


Their product is a staple mirth maker: crazy mirrors.


Despite the competition of roller coasters, Ferris wheels and cotton candy, crazy mirrors are still tops in popularity.  But the making of a laughing mirror is no laughing matter.  To the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company it is a highly scientific operation, calling for great skill and know-how.  The company, among its many other activities, builds about 150 custom-made distortion mirrors annually.  First, the glass is cut, placed on a mold and then heat-treated until various contours are produced.  "It's the curve." said a shop steward, "that gives the distorting effect".


The men who tickle America's funny bone take their work seriously.  "It's a trying and exacting process." said one of  them.  "But. believe me life in a crazy mirror factory can be a lot of fun - maybe, though that's only my distorted point of view."




Curved glass is lifted from mold after heat process by Ludwig Balasek (r.) and James Fox


Mary Kuchta removes excess silver solution while glass grotesquely contorts her image



Massive-headed elf gazes at Carmen Scipps as he inspects newly finished crazy mirror.  (Right)


Aritcle courtsey of Mitch O'Connell Blogspot - How Funhouse Mirrors are Made


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