Share your favorites on Show & Tell

Federal Mirror, Gold Gilt, 16 balls, convex mirror, circa????

In Furniture > Mirrors > Show & Tell.
unknowARTWOR…'s loves1 of 5Federal Mirror(2), Wood and Plaster, Shot from Behind for Sleuths...Galen Rowell Photograph, Artist Proof, signed, dated, of Peregrine Falcon
Love it
Like it

artdecogirlartdecogirl loves this.
tom61375tom61375 loves this.
aeonaeon likes this.
unknowARTWORK411unknowARTWORK411 loves this.
ttomtuckerttomtucker loves this.
kerry10456kerry10456 loves this.
ManikinManikin loves this.
HedgewalkerHedgewalker loves this.
vetraio50vetraio50 loves this.
walksoftlywalksoftly loves this.
miKKoChristmas11miKKoChristmas11 loves this.
rocker-sdrocker-sd loves this.
officialfuelofficialfuel loves this.
stepback_antiquesstepback_antiques loves this.
froggyfroggy loves this.
scottvezscottvez loves this.
michelleamieuxmichelleamieux loves this.
See 15 more
Add to collection

    Please create an account, or Log in here

    If you don't have an account, create one here.

    Create a Show & TellReport as inappropriate

    Posted 9 years ago

    (59 items)

    This is another of my grandparents estate items. I know that it is called a Federal mirror, and was told you could tell the age by how many balls were along the interior, as each ball represented a state. So, there are some with 13 balls, 16 balls, 20 balls, up to ?? balls, etc. That could be total baloney, but mine has 16 balls, just in case. Other than that, I know nothing about this mirror. When it was on the wall as a child, I didn't have the brains to ask what it was, where it came from, especially because my Grandparents were Collector's, it is so interesting to me now, but I didn't know I was a history buff at that young age, unfortunately!! Thank you for your help, Mich

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

    See all
    Vintage Gloria Eriksen Mirror Mid Century Modern MCM SunFlowers Wall Art 70s
    Vintage Gloria Eriksen Mirror Mid C...
    Antique 19th C. Ornate Rococo Gilded Cast Iron Easel Beveled Glass Mirror 15
    Antique 19th C. Ornate Rococo Gilde...
    Antique Vintage Federal Eagle Plaster Carved Mirror
    Antique Vintage Federal Eagle Plast...
    Beautiful Vintage Antique Off White Floral Composite Wall Mirror Signed Syroco
    Beautiful Vintage Antique Off White...
    Vintage Gloria Eriksen Mirror Mid Century Modern MCM SunFlowers Wall Art 70s
    Vintage Gloria Eriksen Mirror Mid C...
    See all


    1. scottvez scottvez, 9 years ago
      It looks like a beautiful mirror.

      I am not familiar with the balls representing states.

      I'd judge the age based on the construction.

      Is the ornamentation carved from wood or a cast plaster piece?

      Can you post some images of the back of the frame? Like furniture and painting frames, some of the best clues can be found on the back!

    2. stefdesign stefdesign, 9 years ago
      I remember hearing that there was some significance to the convex mirror... that it was used to keep an eye on the guests, or perhaps it was the servants! I wish I could remember. I know there are a lot of plaster/ cast reproductions of these mirrors around, we have one, and it's lovely. If it's authentically old, it's probably pretty valuable, but even if it's a modern copy, it's a beautiful piece!
    3. Paul71 Paul71, 9 years ago
      An original mirror like this would date from the Federal period, approximately the first quarter of the 19th century. They are called girandole mirrors (some have candleabra on the sides, and the name stuck even with those that have no candleabra). Reproductions have been around for a long time and some can even be considered antique. Though some originals had 13 balls to symbolize the original 13 colonies, you can't date it from the number of balls. Like reproductions, originals are composed of wood and gesso. Would probably be best to have somebody check it out hands on. Hard to tell in photos with something like this.
    4. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 9 years ago
      Thank you Scott, Stef and Paul, I will post photos of the back(that may take a moment as the real world is again encroaching on my CW world)!! I know this mirror was around in the 30's, because my Mom and Aunt Booby both remember it their whole lives. I will send some of the back and some close-ups of the few dings which might help us figure what it is made of. It is really in good condition, and looks much better after I did a thorough cleaning, carefully, of course!! Thank you for the comments and info. I will get those posted ASAP, Best wishes for a prosperous week for all, Mich
    5. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 9 years ago
      Thank you for the love, everybody, mich
    6. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 9 years ago
      AR8, DOH!!, Well I am glad the CW think tank is here so that I don't make a fool of myself any longer...what'sfunny is that I love history and should know that it wouldn't be called a Confederate Mirror, but for some reason I remembered my Grandparents, or someone calling it a confederate mirror, and I have been mimicking that ever since!! Thank you, I hope they will let me edit that little misnomer. I did not know there were never 16 states in succession, but I was just picking arbitrary numbers to make the point about what lore I had been told, but I will know never to say that again. I love this site as it is so informative, in a kind way.
      I broke my back a few years back and therefore the weight of the mirror for me?....100 billion gazillion phunds. Well, really, it is very heavy,. Thisweekend I am going to make it a project to get my neighbor to help get it down, and photograph the back. The only problem I have had since finding CW is that the real world(job and such), keep encroaching on my educational CW time!! I just pulled the mirror out a little, and the whole back is covered with brown protective paper. I can see something printed on that paper, so I will tell you all what it is the second I can get it down. thank you again, everybody, for the help and love, Mich
    7. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 9 years ago
      The first datin of this mirror is from my Mom, who remembered it from their Great Neck home, and that they brought it with them when they moved to Pasadena in 1940. So, I know it was bought in the New York area, sometime before 1940ish. Because my Grandparents were collector's, it seems they went to great lengths to protect their pieces, as is with the Harold Taylor tinted photograph that is sealed by paper behind the frame. It is difficult because there is paper on the back of many of the framed paintings, that I would like to get to, without tearing up the neat "packaging". I will pull this off the wall, and tear back enough to see if it is wood or plaster, that should be easy enough. I will post those photos this weekend. thank you for helping me, I appreciate this "think tank" so much!! Mich
    8. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 9 years ago
      Hieverybody, my kitchen roof collapsed under the rain and I was cut off from the computer, fate worse than death!! O.K. I posted two more posts showing the wooden frame of the mirror from behind, the patent# and logo and word customer# are a little damaged, but you might recognize it. I showed the few dings, which appear to be scaped paint and gilt with wood, I think the major parts of the mirror, ie: the T-bar behind the eagle and the circle itself, are wood, and the eagle, leaves and all other embellishments are in plaster. You can see where the nails come out of the wood and are embedded in the plaster in a couple of slightly cracked areas. I didn't want to pull the paper off the back, but if that time comes, I will do that too!! I am hoping the patent # will tell us something, or that one of the brains out there in CWland will recognize the logo. As always, thank you for taking the time to help us get educated!! Best wishes, Mich
    9. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 9 years ago
      Well, AR8, it is definitely not a watch!! I took the best shots I could to show structure, without tearing the paper off the back. Help does anyone recognize the logo or structure, and when it might date to?? Thank you as always, Michelle

    Want to post a comment?

    Create an account or login in order to post a comment.