Candles have a rich history, dating back to biblical eras, around the tenth century BC. Early candles were simple: wicks stuck into containers filled with flammable stuff.
Birth of Dipped Candles: Romans and Tallow
The Romans brought about the first dipped candles, using a coated animal fat called tallow. Tallow candles were popular for centuries since tallow was cheap and easy to find.
Beeswax Emerges: Brighter and Better
Around the 1500s, beeswax entered the scene as an alternative to tallow. Beeswax candles burned brighter, lasted longer, produced less smoke, and smelled better than tallow candles. But beeswax was hard to get, so only the upper classes and churches in Europe used them. Until the 1400s, all candles were made by dipping them in wax.
Innovation in Candle Making: Enter Candle Molds
In the 1400s, a French inventor introduced taper candle molds, changing how candles were made.
Materials of the Modern Candle
In recent times, candles have evolved with various materials. Spermaceti, a waxy substance from sperm whales, found its use. Paraffin, made from coal and oil shale, became a common material. There’s also bayberry wax, leftover from boiling lots of blueberries. Even the wick has seen diverse materials; in the early days, loose-front cotton was a popular choice.
Fixing the Grammar and Expanding the Journey
Candles have a fascinating history, with mentions in biblical times dating back to around the tenth century BC. In those early days, candles were basic: wicks inserted into containers filled with flammable material.
Ancient Innovations: The Romans and Tallow
The Romans marked a milestone by crafting the first dipped candles using tallow, an animal fat. Due to its affordability and easy accessibility, tallow became the go-to choice for candles for many centuries.
Beeswax Illumination: Brighter, Longer, Better
Around the 1500s, beeswax emerged as an alternative to tallow. These candles burned brighter, had longer lifespans, emitted less smoke, and carried a pleasant aroma compared to tallow candles. However, acquiring beeswax was challenging, limiting its use to the upper echelons of society and religious institutions in Europe. Prior to the 1400s, all candles were made through the dipping method.
Transforming Candlecraft: The Advent of Candle Molds
In the 1400s, a French inventor revolutionized candle making by introducing taper candle molds, reshaping the candle production process.
Contemporary Candle Materials
Modern candles incorporate diverse materials. Spermaceti, derived from sperm whales, once had its place in candle making. Paraffin, sourced from coal and oil shale, became prevalent. Additionally, bayberry wax, a byproduct of boiling large quantities of blueberries, found utility. Wick materials have also diversified over time, with loose-front cotton being a popular choice in earlier times.
Conclusion: Tracing the Candle’s Evolution
The history of candles is a tapestry woven with innovation and adaptation. From the simple beginnings of wicks in containers to the introduction of varied materials and production methods, candles have journeyed through time, offering light and symbolizing moments throughout human history.