Are you a candle lover? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Candles are wonderful household items that have been used to provide indoor illumination for thousands of years. All across the world, they are made from different materials such as tallow (i.e. boiled down rendered fat, which has been obtained from the carcasses of slaughtered animals like cows and other livestock).
Do you want to know more about how to make candles, and the proper manner of burning candles? Or are you simply wondering why your candle smoke is black? Then, you have come to the right place.
THE FINE ART OF CANDLE MAKING
Candle making is an exquisite skill that has existed for several thousands of years. Over the course of that time, people from all around the world have devised various methods and ways of making their own candles.
The earliest versions of candles are tallow candles. However, much before their invention at the hands of an unnamed individual in ancient history (or unnamed individuals), tools known as rush lights were used. Rush lights are basically torches, whose ends have been dipped into rendered fat. These dipped ends are then set on fire and used to provide illumination.
From rush lights, advancements from all over the world eventually led to the development of candles, the earliest version of which are tallow candles. Other forms of candles which were invented around this time include insects rolled up in papyrus or some other form of paper, herbs gotten from trees and forms of tallow candles which were made from other sources of fat such as fat obtained from aquatic mammals.
Tallow candles continued to be the most popular candles around for a long time. However, other kinds of candles such as beeswax candles were also in existence. Technological advancements within the last several decades have lead to the creation of paraffin wax candles, and other types of candles such as soy wax candles, palm wax candles and coconut wax candles; which were invented subsequently.
As advancements were taking place in the region of candle making, they were also taking place in the world as a whole; which is why candles soon fell in terms of popularity when the electric light bulb was invented at the end of the 19th century.
THE EVOLUTION OF CANDLES
Due to the fact that candles were not very popular, during the period of time after the electric light bulb was invented, a lot of knowledge about candles have been lost over time. This loss was a slow and gradual thing, which was marked by the disappearance of a lot of participation in the field of candle making. Prior to the invention of the electric light bulb, candle makers used to go from household to household in order to make candles for the members, utilizing the available fat in the house (usually, this fat was set aside specifically for the purpose of candle making, every time cows and other forms of livestock were slaughtered). Candle making was such an important art that it was deemed a guild craft, and people used to spend months learning the skill of candle making from renowned chandlers who had already made a name for themselves in the field. But when candles slid out of demand, many people no longer saw the need to enter candle making apprenticeships and other programs designed to help them learn the dos and don’ts of the trade. A lot of candle making knowledge was lost during this era.
However, this era of decline in candle demand came to an end several years back, when candles became popular again and people started using them all over the world. This was because candles had found a niche in the global market (not as agents of indoor illumination, but as major tools in the field of aromatherapy).
Aromatherapy is a field that employs the fragrance given off from essential oils in order to treat conditions such as stress, anger, anxiety and other ailments. Some studies suggest that aromatherapy may also be useful in the treatment of physical illnesses which affect people.
HOW TO MAKE CANDLES LAST LONGER
Due to the rising popularity of candles in the field of aromatherapy, people have started using candles once again. However, there are some things that they do not know (some knowledge, basically, that has been lost). Some of them include the following:
Candles should always be trimmed after purchase and before use, to a length that is about ¼ of an inch. This is because when a candle’s wick is too long, the flame generated when it is lit tends to be too big. So, the candle tends to burn down at a faster rate.
It is also important to trim a candle’s wick to the sufficient length as a means of preventing an occurrence known as tunneling. Tunneling happens when the innermost part of the candle – just at the wick – burns at a much faster rate, compared to the candle wax at the sides of the candle. When the innermost part of the candle melts this way, it tends to lead to wastage of candle wax in the long run, because after the wax at the innermost part of the candle is exhausted, the wax at the sides still remain.
- Pour your fragrance in at the right temperature
You can make your candles last for much longer, in terms of scents, when you pour in your perfumes or fragrance at the right temperature. When the temperature of the candle wax is too high at this phase, it tends to evaporate quickly. At the same time, when the temperature of the wax is too low, the fragrance tends to separate out of it; because it won’t mix well.
WHY IS MY CANDLE SMOKE BLACK?
Another thing that most people do not know about candles is the answer to the question, “Why is my candle smoke black?”
Usually, candles emit black smoke when the materials used in making them are not of high quality or if they are placed in situations where their combustion is incomplete (i.e. in the path of moving air). This can also happen when the wick of the candle is too long (i.e. when the candle has not been trimmed). And so, to avoid this, it is important to buy candles of very high quality and take proper care of them.