The History of Candles! Did You Know?

Candles have come a long way since their earliest known times from around the fourth century B.C. At one time, candles were one of the only sources of artificial light. The early Egyptians used rushes soaked in tallow (animal fat) and called them rushlights. During the time of the Roman Empire tallow was melted until it was liquid then poured over fibers of hemp or flax. The Chinese and Japanese made candles by using wax derived from insects and seeds and molded them in paper tubes. In India, taper candles were made from skimming wax off of boiling cinnamon. Beeswax candles came along in the Middle Ages, but quantities were limited, making it too expensive for anyone but the upper class.

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Candle making, as we know it, made it`s debut during the thirteenth century when chandlers (candle makers) traveled door to door creating candles with the customer`s tallow or beeswax. In America, Native Americans made their first candles by using oily fish on a forked stick. Early missionaries would get their wax by boiling the bark of the Cerio tree. Early settlers of colonial America discovered that they could boil the berries from the bayberry shrub and create a wonderful smelling, good burning candle. Unfortunately, the process to make this wax was extremely tiresome and tedious. During the 19th century the first patented candle making machines were created. This allowed all homes, no matter what class, to have them.

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No longer do we use candles as a primary source of light, but they`re still a very important part of our lives. We use them for many of our ceremonies, as decorations for our homes, to scent our homes, and to create warm glows in our homes during special, or romantic, occasions. What would romance be without candle light?

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by DNea Smith