There are times when you just need to know more about candles; how they are formed, what they are made up of and other tidbits of information. Don’t worry, you are not alone.
We agree that candles are very awe-worthy items, especially you consider how long they have been around for (these amazing items have been around for thousands of years).
However, another thing that many people find fascinating about candles is how simple they are. A candle’s operating process is one of the simplest, yet astonishing, things about them.
HOW ARE CANDLES FORMED?
Candles are made up of two distinct parts, which are: the wax and the wick. Candle wax is the part of the candle which gives it its shape, color and form. This is because when people talk about the shape of a candle or what color it is (or even what scent it gives out during burning), they are usually talking about the properties of the candle wax.
But that’s not all candle wax does. The hidden – well, not so hidden – truth about candle wax is that it is actually the fuel source of the entire candle, as well as the massive – well, not so massive – powerhouse of the candle’s entire mechanism.
This is because candle wax is usually made up of materials which support burning, particularly in their melted liquid form. And these materials also have the unique property of being physically stable and solid at room temperature (before they become melted upon exposure to heat from a source as small as a single flame).
A lot of things can be added to candle wax in its melted liquid form which go a long way into determining its properties (for instance, dyes can be added in at this stage – e.g. in its melted form – in order to add color to the candle wax. Perfumes and fragrances can also be added in, during the formation of scented candles).
Candle wax can be made from different materials such as tallow, paraffin wax, soy wax, beeswax and combination wax (which is usually formed by mixing different types of waxes together in various percentages).
A candle wick, on the other hand, is usually a piece of braided material (e.g. cotton) at the center of a candle, which is specially treated and often braided in order to support a candle’s burning.
HOW IS CANDLE WAX FORMED?
Nobody remembers exactly when candles were first or invented, however some records show that candles may have been made by the Ancient Romans in 3000 B.C. The types of candles which were made during this era were usually formed by rolling papyrus and dipping it into melted beeswax or tallow. Other forms of candles were formed about 5000 years ago, from tallow, in some parts of the world (tallow – or wax made from animal fat – is typically made from melted down fat, which has been obtained from the carcasses of slaughtered livestock and other animals). In some other parts of the world, insects were used in candle making, by rolling them in papyrus and other types of plants. However, one major problem with several of these kind of early candles is the fact that they did not burn cleanly (many of them produced a lot of soot and smoke during burning, and a number of them – such as tallow candles – produced unpleasant aroma during burning). Tallow candles typically produce the odor of burning fat when they have been lit.
WHAT IS THE MOST DESIRABLE TYPE OF CANDLEWAX?
The type of candle wax used doesn’t just affect soot production and the aroma produced during burning. It also influences a candle’s burning time.
Beeswax is the most desirable kind of wax material used in candle making (because it produces very little soot and smoke while burning, and because it also doesn’t produce any unpleasant aroma. Additionally, candles made from beeswax tend to last longer than many other types of candles). During the middle ages, candles made from beeswax were used widely in a lot of churches for religious ceremonies, and by the few rich people who could afford them (because this kind of candles were very expensive to make, and they remain relatively expensive – compared to some other types of candles – even till date). However, a lot of people still preferred it to other types of candles. Therefore, it held a position of high esteem.
HOW MUCH WAX IS IN A CANDLE?
Candles were some of the most popular means of providing indoor illumination, hundreds of years ago. However, it invention of the electric light bulb steered the course of the world in another direction. Technology has led to a lot of changes in this day age, and one of its most notable changes in the field of light provision (i.e. the invention of the light bulb) has also had a resultant effect on the role and purpose of candles in today’s world. In this era of electricity, it no longer makes logical sense to rely solely on candlelight for indoor illumination. Yet, candles persist.
This is largely due to the popular roles they play in the field of aromatherapy, where scented candles are commonly used to as tools of relaxation and therapy. However, the one downside of all these development is the loss of a lot of knowledge associated with candle making.
However, science more than makes up for this gap in knowledge with wide bodies of research into several items and things, such as candles. For example, thanks to science – and the brilliant research of scientists – it is now possible to know (or at least, estimate) how much wax a candle contains.
The amount of wax a candle contains is solely dependent on the size of the candle, its weight and its tin size. For instance, a candle with the tin size of 8.0 oz would typically contain – or require – wax weighing 5.3 oz (or 154g), while a candle with a tin size of 6.0 oz would require wax weighing 4.0 oz (or 115g).