Candles can turn a dull evening into a romantic one and if the candle is perfumed it can help you relax and get into another world completely. Made from wax with a wick that runs through the length, it is something that can bring light into your life in more ways than one. Most of the candles are made from paraffin but these days beeswax, gel, stearin, soy and other plant waxes (like palm, bayberry, carnauba and more) and tallow is also used to create these beautiful objects.
Candle making as an art developed in many countries at different time periods. Some of the earliest candles were made by the Chinese people during the Qin Dynasty around 200BC. These candles were made from wax that was sourced from insects and plants. Temple candles in India were made from boiling cinnamon. People of the Pacific Northwest created candles from fused oil that was obtained from eulachon (also called candlefish) in the first century AD.
While these candles made from fish used dried fish in forked stick, Europe saw its first candles made by nomadic tribes in the Roman Era. However, some feel that candles were made earlier by the people in the colder climates where they used animal fat to create these candles. The tallow was melted and put into metal pots with a pith for rushes being used as the wick.
Alfred the Great, the Anglo Saxon king used graduated candles to keep time. These candles were called candle clocks and while the time keeping was not too accurate it did give some semblance of the time that had passed by. This was a concept that was used in the Sung Dynasty in China also.
By the 13th century candle making had become a guild craft and Europe saw many house to house candle makers that would create these practical and essential products from the fats saved up in the kitchen. One of the first companies to create candles was the Tallow Chandlers Company that essentially used fat from cows to create candles. It might be interesting to know that tallow was also used for street lighting in the 14th century.
The candle making industry took a beating once the distillation of kerosene was discovered. This became the standard fuel for all the lanterns that were created and soon after when the light bulb was created in 1879, the need for candles was reduced significantly.
However, the art of candle making has been revived by those who love the subtle flickering glow that they provide. Candle making rejuvenated itself with the creating of decorative candles, scented candles and aromatherapy candles. The association of candles with romance has also been a factor that has kept the industry alive.
Today candle making is an art that many people want to learn since it can bring a lot of joy in the life of those who practice it. It also allows for a lot of creativity as well.
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