Add Some Light To
Your Life With Candles
to the wonderful world of candles !
by: Wendy Yeager
Candles first served as the
main source of light for early civilization. They have
made many changes through the years. The candles of today
are not the same candles from hundreds of years ago.
Before the introduction of
wicks, early Egyptians lit their reed torches by soaking
them in molten tallow, which is fat from sheep or cattle.
Romans later developed wick candles which they dipped
into the tallow.
By the Middle Ages, beeswax
was being used in the making of some candles. The candles
burned cleaner than tallow and had a more pleasant odor
than the tallow candles. However, they were more costly
and only the wealthy could afford them.
In Colonial times, the settlers
found they could boil berries from the bayberry bush to
make a sweet smelling and clean burning wax for their
candles. Unfortunately, it was tedious work and it took
many berries to make just one candle.
By the 18th century, candles
were being made from spermaceti, a wax which was crystallized
sperm whale oil. These candles had an even better odor
and would not bend and soften in warm weather.
In 1834, a machine was invented
which mass produced molded candles. By 1850, we were using
paraffin wax made from oil and coal shale. It was processed
by distilling residues of crude petroleum refinement.
Soon after, stearic acid was added to the paraffin wax
and these are still the basic ingredients of today’s
Today, we have many kinds
of candles to choose from. We have candles in all different
shapes, sizes, and scents. Not only do candles add soft
light to our home décor, they also add tantalizing
aromas which can affect our moods. We have many aromatherapy
candles to help us feel better. And how about those candles
which bring back childhood memories—There’s
nothing like a deliciously scented chocolate chip cookie
or apple cinnamon candle to warm up your kitchen on a
cold winter day!
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