Candles: A History in the Making

Candles have a deep history.  When you look at the history of the world it’s been relatively recent that candles have not been needed for lighting purposes.  The type of candle that resembles our modern-day candle was invented nearly 5,000 years ago! This article will peruse the history of candle making.

And so the history of candles breaks down into two time segments.  The first segment is before electricity. The second of course is after electricity.

Electricity is the time divider for candle history because electricity changed the purpose of candles forever.  Before electricity candles were made for utility. A candle’s function was to provide light, as archaic as that sounds. After electricity a candle’s function was superfluous.  In other words, candles were more for fun, than for vital use.

Let’s take a closer look at a candle’s role before electricity. For thousands of years candles lit people’s way and they were always made of some type of wax. But these functional candles were not all peaches n’ cream. Not at all in fact! Candles were first made out of animal fat extracts to make wax.  And all through the dark ages these archaic candles burned black smoke and must have smelled awful! Because of the black smoke that burned from these early candles, people’s walls within their homes were always covered with thick blackness.

candle making

Much later in Colonial America candle making turned to bees wax for production.  Bees wax burned purer than the animal fat candles of the past, but still was not ideal. A type of wax was needed that could burn both smokeless and odorless.

This all was leading up to the discovery of electricity in 1752 by Benjamin Franklin.  However, it wasn’t until Thomas Edison came along over 100 years later that the light bulb was invented to conduct electricity.  With these discoveries and technological advancements, electricity had a great purpose; finally homes would be lit without candles.

Unsurprisingly, with the technological advancements of electricity, the candle world was also evolving.  Around the same time as all of this new progress, people were inventing more efficient waxes for candle burning. Paraffin was invented at this time.  And since that time forth chemical engineers have continued to perfect waxes for candle making.

Now candle making has become recreational, since candles are not a necessity for seeing in the dark.  And with this new recreational role, candles have become a fun and exciting hobby, and/or business venture for people around the world. And with so many available products, people can candle make with ease in their own home, and without professional help.

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