Hidden in Plain Sight:
The Material World of Early Springfield


Pier Mirror

c. 1855-1860
Collection of the Springfield Art Association

This mirror belonged to Benjamin and Helen Edwards. They likely purchased it for their newly-remodeled home sometime after 1857. Pier mirrors such as these became fashionable after 1835 as silvering replaced the use of mercury in manufacture and as new production techniques made them more affordable. Pier mirrors such as this were used to reflect light in a room; make a room look bigger; and add a touch of elegance and refinement. This mirror came from the firm of Samuel Spencer & Co. in Saint Louis; its original label survives on back. This company advertised in the Springfield Illinois State Register in 1857, the same year the Edwards family began remodeling work on their home.