Lauren Krueger & Matthew David Brozik


In Definally on January 10, 2012 at 10:30 am

Everyone in the world has asked, “What’s the right term for glass that’s mirrored on one side but translucent on the other—you know, the stuff used, for instance, in interrogation (or execution) rooms?”

There really are too many terms—each of them contradictory with another—for this material. Definally. to the rescue.

The contenders for the title: one-way mirror; two-way mirror; one-way glass; and two-way glass. (See what we mean about the contradictions? How can the same thing be known as both one-way X and two-way X? Also, you might think that this calls for a table, and you might be right… but Definally. is feeling a little lazy today, so we’re going to do this in just words.)

At the outset, we can eliminate two-way glass. Regular glass is “two-way” glass. That is, if one thinks of glass as translucent by default, and translucent in both directions (such as window glass), then it’s glass in both (or, two) ways. Therefore two-way glass is a nonstarter. That was easy.

The same—or similar—logic applies to—and results in the elimination of—one-way mirror. The typical mirror is “one-way.” In fact, it has to be, because of what’s involved in turning a pane of glass into a mirror. You can’t have a two-way mirror… because if you coat both sides of a pane of glass with tin chloride, silver, copper, and paint, what you’ll get is a no-way mirror. So one-way mirror is out. And so is two-way mirror!

Would you look at that? One-way glass it is!

Okay, fine. Here’s a table:

Glass Mirror
One-way Yes. No.
Two-way No. No.
  1. Excellent work, Definally.
    But could we also see this in pie chart format? How about a bar graph?

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