Candle Making History
To learn about the history of candles get ready to dive deep into history. If you look at the history of the world it’s only been recently that candles weren’t needed for light. Primeval candles that resemble our contemporary candles were invented close to 6,000 years ago! Keep reading for more information about candle making history.
Let’s start by breaking down the history of candle making into two time blocks. Block one is pre-electricity. Block two is post- electricity.
Electricity is a natural time divider for the history of candles because electricity truly changed a candle’s function. The reason for burning candles before electricity was strictly utilitarian. This means that candles were just used to give light, and for no other reason. When electricity was conducted for lighting purposes, a candle’s function turned unessential. At that point candles were used for fun, not for necessity.
Let’s take a closer look at a candle’s role before electricity. For thousands of years candles lit people’s way and they were always made of some type of wax. But these functional candles were not all peaches n’ cream. Not at all in fact! Candles were first made out of animal fat extracts to make wax. And all through the dark ages these archaic candles burned black smoke and must have smelled awful! Because of the black smoke that burned from these early candles, people’s walls within their homes were always covered with thick blackness.
Moving down the timeline, but still in pre-electric times, the Colonial Americans began using bees wax for candle making. Purer burning than the animal fat candles, bees wax was, but it still was difficult to mold and work with. The ideal wax would be both smokeless and odorless and easy to work with.
This time period was leading up to the discovery of electricity. In 1752 Benjamin Franklin discovered electrical currents. But, it wasn’t until Thomas Edison found a medium for electricity conduction (over 100 years later) that the light bulb was invented. With all of these discoveries candles were finally not needed for producing light in homes.
Predictably, and yet quite ironically, the technological advancements of electricity brought on advancements to candles. At the same time as all of these new developments, better wax for making candles was invented. It was called paraffin and this wax is still used today for candle production. Even since that time wax for candle making has continued to improve.
Now candle making has become recreational, since candles are not a necessity for seeing in the dark. And with this new recreational role, candles have become a fun and exciting hobby, and/or business venture for people around the world. And with so many available products, people can candle make with ease in their own home, and without professional help.