Candle Making Through the Centuries Essays

Decent Essays
The Evolution of Candles

For thousands of years, before modern electrical lighting systems were developed, candles existed not for decoration but for the sole purpose of providing artificial light in millions of homes.
Here’s a brief history of how the candle making industry flourished, declined and regained its prominence through the years.
• The Ancient Times
During the ancient civilisation, candles were made from tallow, or animal fat, extracted from cattle and sheep. The first candles were developed by the ancient Egyptians. These candles, known as rushlights or torches, had no wicks and burned slowly. The Romans were credited for the first creation of candles with wicks, the ones that resembled the candles that are used today.
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It was in the late 18th century that the business of candle making with the use of the spermaceti, a wax obtained by crystallising sperm whale oil, significantly flourished. The spermaceti wax, like beeswax, burned clearly and do not produce foul, acrid odour. Also, the light being generated was significantly brighter compared to the ones emitted by tallow and beeswax.
• The 19th Century
In the 1820s, French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered a way to extract stearic acid from animal fatty acids, which lead to the development of stearin wax. This type of wax, which is hard and durable, is considered a fundamental element in candle making. In fact, the use of the stearin candles remained popular in Europe until today.
In 1834, inventor Joseph Morgan developed a machine that allowed the constant production of moulded candles by using a cylinder with a movable piston that ejects candles as they solidified. With the introduction of this machine, candles became an affordable commodity for the masses.
In the 1850s, the paraffin wax was introduced after chemists learned how to effectively separate the naturally-occurring waxy substance from petroleum. Paraffin, an odourless and bluish-white substance, was considered a helpful element in the candle making process because it burned easily and continuously. It was also more economical than any other candle fuel.
• The
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