The Story of the Candle

Candles have long been used for lighting of ones home, they have not always been what they are today though. Todays candles are used for relaxation, scenting, and lighting of an area. They come in almost any shape, size, color, or scent. The candles of old though were not this varied.

The first candles were formed from the tallow of animal carcasses. This was collected and then melted into a wax like substance that was pored around a “wick”. This wick could be made of any number of locally sourced materials that would burn at a reasonable rate. This meant that these first candles would generally create a great deal of smoke and the tallow also caused a putrid odor to hang in the air. This is not something that we would wish for our homes or office today!

The next candle to be made was the natural beeswax candle. These candles were quite costly because of the low supply of beeswax and the labor involved in acquiring it at the time. This meant that only the aristocratic and the clergy could afford this type of candle most of the time. They burn with a nice aroma though and are still popular, and much more affordable, to this day.

Then came the whale oil derived candle, a thankfully unpopular choice today. These could be made in great numbers due to the advent of industrialization and the widespread availability of whale oil at the time. They were cheap and burnt reliably with little smoke, though they did have a peculiar smell.

Finally the paraffin wax candle was invented and made popular. This is the candle we find most often today, it is made in a litany of different ways. They can be found in tea candles and scented candles in homes and ceremonies worldwide. This is surely not the end to the evolution of the candle though and one can only imagine where time will take it.

PeteThe Story of the Candle