The National Candle Association tells us that candles have been used for more than 5,000 years and yet little is know where candles were first used. Many feel that candles were designed by the ancient Egyptians who used torches or “rushlights” made from soaking reeds in animal fat. However these “rushlights” had no wick to speak of. Although the Egyptians were using wicked candles in and around the early 3,000 B.C., many experts have said that the ancient Romans used papyrus dipped in either tallow or beeswax to make their candles way before that time period. These early candles would have been used to illuminate homes, traveling in the dark, as well as for important religious ceremonies.
The National Candle Association credits the early 19th Century for the most improvements in candle making. In 1820 a french chemist found a way to extract stearic acid from animal fatty acids. He found that the use of stearic made candles much harder and more durable. The use of stearic wax is still used today. Then in 1834 an inventor by the name of Joseph Morgan invented a machine that could make candles easier and faster as well as more affordable. In the 1850’s paraffin wax was created from petroleum. Paraffin was found to work perfectly in the making of candles because it burned well, was odorless, and was cheap. The only problem was that it was soft and had a low melting point. Soon it was discovered that by adding stearic acid to the paraffin wax you ended up with the perfect substance for making durable candles.
Candles have been around for a very long time. What is interesting is that as candle makers we each have our own way of making candles. Many candle makers create and develop their own unique wax formula. My husband, Duane, who I think was a chemist in another life time, created our companies wax formula by using 3 different kinds of wax (beeswax is one of the elements) and by adding stearic to our formula has come up with a very special wax mixture. Duane spent countless hours perfecting our formula. We are proud of the way our formula produces not only beautiful mottled candles but also candles that are both durable and safe.
From the early days of candle making to today, candles have gone through many stages. Their popularity has continued to grow into a billion dollar industry today! Candles may not be required today for lighting our homes but they can provide us with joy, warmth, and romance in our every day life!