Man, lady, fire, water and a lot of things attempting to eat woman and man, that is all there had been in the beginning! Fire was a weapon for folk in those distant times. It was maybe man’s main kind of protection from rapacious animals. It also served to cook their food, light their shelter and glaringly keep them warm. This rudimentary need for fire in and around our lives is in our DNA. It fulfills some kind of primeval deep need. Open fires, wood burners etc are getting more popular today. In a similar way with candles. It is an animal thing helping make our houses feel more cozy and inviting. This text concentrates on a short recap of candles, the societies that used them and the individuals that made them.
Traditional Candles Candles from beeswax have been recorded as early as 3000 BC in traditional Egypt. The Chinese made candles from the fat of Whales in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC ) and in early Japan and China, tapers made with wax from insects and seeds, wrapped up in paper are believed to have been employed. The wax from boiling cinnamon was employed for church candles in traditional India. In the first century Anno Domini, Groups of folks in the Pacific Northwest fused oil from the Eulachon ( or “candle-fish” ), to make a basic candle. Candles are a traditional product originally made out of necessity for light in houses and to be used in spiritual practices.
One – 1300 AD Fat candles were employed in traditional Rome. Gleaned from suet, a crumbling animal fat, fat was highly Smokey in burning. But fat was freely available and straightforward to process into candles. The smoke produced was forgiven for the utility of the light. Fat candles were used at altars, shrines, in churches and were common in races houses. Making fat candles was reasonably easy. Softened in a pot, the fat was then poured into molds made from bronze. Excess wax was caught in a trough and returned to the mixing pot. A basic twine made of the pith of rushes was employed and postponed from a horizontal rod over the mold when the fat is poured in.
1300 AD – present Tallow was the standard candle material used in Europe during the late middle ages. The Tallow Chandlers Company of London was formed in about 1300 AD and in 1456 was granted a coat of arms. The Wax Chandlers Company acquired its charter in 1484. By 1415, tallow candles were used in street lighting. The trade of the chandler is also recorded by the name of “smeremongere”, since they oversaw the manufacture of sauces, vinegar, soap and cheese. The unpleasant smell of tallow candles is due to their high glycerin content. Wealthier establishments such as churches, merchants and Royalty used candles from beeswax, as the smell was usually less unpleasant. The smell of the manufacturing process of tallow candles was so unpleasant that it was banned by ordinance in several cities of this time period. During the 1800’s paraffin was discovered. Cheaper and without the pungent smell of tallow, paraffin soon became the staple material for candle making. Mechanization of the process of candle making followed and soon cheap candles were available to the masses.
Candle Making As A Profession The candle maker is known as a Chandler. In England and France candle making had become a guild graft by the 14th century. These candle makers (chandlers) went from house to house making candles from fats saved from the kitchen or sold their own candles from within their shops.
Latest Market And Candle Making Developments During the 1990s, new candle waxes were being developed due to an unusually high demand for candles. In the U.S., agricultural chemists began to develop soybean wax. Soy wax was a softer and slower burning wax than paraffin. On the other side of the world, Palm wax was being developed for use in candles. Developments continue apace today with better wax blends being developed for cleaner burning, more sustainable candles. Scented candles are very popular today with an estimated global market value of $2.5 Billion in 2005. From the humble cave fire to fragrance within the home, candles are an enduring symbol of romance that makes us feel in touch our ancient past.
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