For many centuries, candles have been used as a source of light and illumination of celebration. However, a lot of things are still unknown about their origin. The earliest use of candles is attributed to the Ancient Egyptians. They made torches also known as rush lights by dipping the pithy core of reeds in melted animal fat (though the rush lights had no wick like a real candle). However, the actual name of the person (or people) that invented candles is not recorded in any history book. This is because the invention of candles took place thousands of years ago.
WHAT ARE THE TRUE ORIGINS OF CANDLES?
Historians say that the Ancient Romans are the ones that developed the wicked candle before 3000 B.C., when the Egyptians were using them. The Ancient Romans made these forms of candles by dipping rolled papyrus into melted tallow or beeswax several times. The resulted candles were used to illuminate their houses, and to help those who moved around after dark. Candles were also used heavily in a lot of religious ceremonies across various religions all over the world. For instance, Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights which can be traced back to 165 B. C. predominantly features the lighting of candles.
Also according to historians, several other early civilizations – apart from the Ancient Romans and Ancient Egyptians – developed their own versions of wicked candles by using employing waxes obtained from the mild processing of available insects and plants. For instance, early Chinese candles were made from rolled up paper and wax (which was obtained from the body of an indigenous insect). Early Japanese candles, from around that same time were produced from wax extracted from tree nuts, while in India – a country still within the region of Asia – candle wax was made out of boiled fruits of the cinnamon tree.
During medieval times, candles were primarily made from tallow – pale, solid fat which is obtained from the carcass of slaughtered livestock, particularly cows and sheep – and beeswax. However, they have also been made from purified animal fats (stearin), spermaceti (sperm whales) and paraffin wax. Tallow candles were the usual household candle for the Europeans. However, tallow candles were known to emit an unpleasant smell during candle burning as a result of the glycerin contained within the tallow. The smell was so unpleasant – even while the manufacturing process was going on – that several European cities banned the use of tallow.
HOW DID THE USAGE OF CANDLES EVOLVE TO WHAT IT IS TODAY?
By the 13th century, candle making was a guild craft in France and England. The candle-makers (or chandlers) went from household to household to make candles for them – for a fee – using the saved fats in the kitchen (or they produced and sold their own candles from their candle shops). Subsequently, the beeswax candles were launched and were discovered to be far better than tallow candles; because unlike the animal-based tallow, beeswax burned cleanly, without the production of excessive soot (or any real amount of soot at all) . It also gives off a pleasant aroma during candle burning, which is much better than the unpleasant aroma tallow. This type of candles (beeswax candles) was largely utilized for church or religious ceremonies but they were very expensive during this period, therefore only the wealthy could afford to purchase them frequently.
Towards the end of the 19th century, paraffin wax candles were introduced into the market. Candles made from paraffin wax were highly favored, both by the chandlers and the masses, because they were cheap, easy to work with and they could be used to produce large amount of candles in factories (with the use of molds). However, soon after paraffin wax candles became very popular, the electric light bulb was invented; and this invention changed the face of the candle industry forever. This is because the electric bulb steadily began to replace candles in people’s homes – particularly in the western parts of the world – and it soon became rather clear to them (people) that their demand for illumination far exceeded anything candles alone could provide after dark.
Recently, a lot of people have been using candles again, due to the fact that candles (scented candles, in particular) are a great tool used in aromatherapy; a method of stress relief.
WILL FREEZING YOUR CANDLES MAKE THEM LAST LONGER?
As a result of the increasing global interest in candles, many people have begun to purchase candles again. However, a lot of knowledge about candles has been lost over time and so, people are still trying to figure a lot of things out by asking a lot of questions. One of those questions is this: “Will freezing your candles make them last longer?”
The simple answer is yes.
If you’re the type of person who buys a lot of candles because you use them a lot, you may find it beneficial to freeze your candles because by employing this method, you can make your candles last about twice the duration of their usual burn time. This is because when you store your candles in a freezer or fridge, you will be reducing the temperature of the wax (or cooling it, so to speak); which will make the wax harden. Since the candle wax will be much harder than normal when you take it out of the freezer or fridge, it will take a much longer time for the candle flame to melt it and this will assist greatly in preserving the candle. There are a lot of avid candle users who claim that their candles burn a lot slower after they have frozen it for a day or two. They also claim that thin candles require a lot less time in the freezer or fridge compared to thicker candles, which have to be frozen for a longer period of time, in order achieve this effect. However, there are still some naysayers who do not believe that refrigerating or freezing candles before use helps to prolong its lifespan in any shape, way or form.