A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 14, 2019
“Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” (safety warning)

“Objects in mirror are closer than they appear” is what is written on the right-side window of a vehicle. This is a safety warning to prevent accidents before people make wrong decisions based on what they see in this mirror. The distance is usually shorter than what it appears.

“OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR” was printed in The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ) on March 16, 1979. It is not known who first authored these words. There is no active trademark.

The saying has often taken on a philosophical connotation, with the mirror representing someone’s life.


Wikipedia: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear
The phrase “objects in (the) mirror are closer than they appear” is a safety warning that is required[a] to be engraved on passenger side mirrors of motor vehicles in the United States, Canada, Nepal, India, and Saudi Arabia. It is present because while these mirrors’ convexity gives them a useful field of view, it also makes objects appear smaller. Since smaller-appearing objects seem farther away than they actually are, a driver might make a maneuver such as a lane change assuming an adjacent vehicle is a safe distance behind, when in fact it is quite a bit closer. The warning serves as a reminder to the driver of this potential problem.

Newspapers.com
16 March 1979, The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ), “Back-seat spectator jarred by rear view” by jay Coleman, pg. B-12, col. 1:
As I climbed into the back seat of the Jimmy Bryan 150 pace car, I couldn’t help noticing a warning stenciled on the outside rear-view mirror:

OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.

Newspapers.com
16 November 1980, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “Dodge Aries wagon offers both roominess and economy” by James Mateja, sec. 15, pg. 1, col. 4:
The mirror, also used by GM, has a warning on the glass that objects miniaturized by the mirror are closer than they appear. Pass a car and look back in the mirror and you think you’re a quarter of a mile ahead of him when you may be a few feet ahead.

OCLC WorldCat record
Objects in mirrors are closer than they appear.
Author: Jeff Cain; Charles Cohen; Ghostwriters (Musical group)
Publisher: [Philadelphia] : Red Music, ℗1981.
Edition/Format: Music LP : No Linguistic Content

Newspapers.com
3 January 1982, Minneapolis (MN) Tribune, “Garland Wright and Guthrie Theater’s ‘Candide’” by Mike Steele, pg. 12G, col. 2:
“On my car mirror was a sign, ‘Objects in this mirror are closer than they appear to be.’ My god. Is that what’s real now? There are so many impenetrable charts and signs in our lives.”

Newspapers.com
25 March 1983, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Auto know-how” by Bill Simmons, pg. 20-B, col. 6:
The phrase, which is etched on the bottom of the right-side mirror only, is: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” It is to serve as a warning and means exactly what it says.

The reason for the warning is that the mirror is convex in construction. This permits a wider view to the rear of the car, but distorts the distance between the mirror and, say, a car that has just been passed. If one doesn’t keep this in mind, he could easily think he has plenty of room to pull into that lane and wind up causing an accident.

OCLC WorldCat record
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear
Author: Amy Lynn Poitier
Publisher: [Dayton, Ohio] : [W.S.U. Printing Service], 1988.
Dissertation: M.A. Wright State University 1988
Series: Wright State University.; Masters theses.
Edition/Format: Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Objects in mirror are closer than they appear : a novel
Author: Katharine Weber
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, ©1995.
Edition/Format: eBook : Document : Fiction : English : 1st ed
Summary:
Photographer Harriet Rose goes on an assignment to Geneva and moves in with Anne Gordon. Back in New York they were best of friends, now Anne has a lover and Harriet has to leave the apartment when he visits. A study in changing friendships.

Gizmodo
Why Objects In the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear
Andrew Tarantola
12/09/14 12:00PM
The passenger-side mirror of every modern car in America bears the same warning: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” Ever wondered why? It’s no design fault; it’s actually a safety feature.

The reason behind the warning is a simple matter of physics—and the placement of the passenger-side mirror in relation to the driver’s eye.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityTransportation • Monday, October 14, 2019 • Permalink