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  • Tilotama S Bhandarkar

Candle and Its History


The Burning Thought of a Candle

"I may just be a little candle in your life,

I may burn out and melt after a while...

But, I wish it within that time...

My light touches your heart,

Even for a while...."


Behind the beauty and light of a candle flame, there is a lot of chemistry and physics that is involved.

In 1860, Michael Faraday gave his now-famous lecture series on the Chemical History of a Candle, demonstrating dozens of scientific principles through his careful observations of a burning candle.

In the late 1990s, NASA took candle research to new heights, conducting space shuttle experiments to learn about the behavior of candle flames in micro gravity.

Scientists in universities and research laboratories around the world continue to conduct experiments with candles to learn more about candle flames, emissions, and combustion.


Let's take a dive into the history of this indulging commodity.


Antiquity:

Candles owe their existence to the Ancient Romans, like numerous other aspects of modern life. Romans began producing candles dipped in tallow in year 500 B.C. These early candles were made using the tallow wax, derived from the meat of cow and sheep, and an unwounded strand of twine.

Throughout history, candle making was developed independently in many places. Candles were used by early Greeks to honour the Goddess Artemis's birth on the sixth day of every lunar month.


The Mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang (295- 210 B.C.), contained candles made from whale fat.

The Han dynasty (202 B.C. to 220 A.D.), had candles being made of beeswax.

The Chinese in the 4th century A.D. used rolled rice paper as a wick and were moulded in paper tubes and used wax from an indigenous insect that was combined with seeds.

In India, was from boiling cinnamon was used in temples, Yak butter was used for candles in Tibet.


Ancient Candle Made of Tallow

Middle Ages:

Olive oil was widely used to light lamps but after the collapse of the Roman Empire, olive oil was unavailable throughout Europe. that is when the use of candles spread widely. Whereas in North America and Middle East candles-making was still unknown due to the availability of olive oil.

Beeswax Dipped Taper Candles

Modern Age:

Candle making became a guild craft in England and France by the 13th century.

The first candle mold came into being in the 15th century in Paris.


An industrialized mass market to manufacture candles started in the mid 19th century. Joseph Morgan, a pewter-er from Manchester patented a machine that revolutionized the candle making in 1834. 1500 candles could be manufactured per hour with this revolutionized machine.


Due to the rapid introduction to lightning methods like kerosene and incandescent light bulb, the candle industry declined. People no longer needed candles as a source of light, making them more of a luxury than a commodity. However, thanks to the development of scented candles, as well as the introduction of new, cleaner burning ingredients such as soy, palm and flax-seed oil, candles have since made a resurgence, and their popularity continues to grow.



Modern Scented Soy Wax Blended Candles



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