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  • Writer's pictureCK Mackenzie

Tidbit Tuesday- Candles

Candles have been used for centuries, and changed little until the 1800s. Rich households used mirrors or other reflective surfaces to cast as wide a range of candlelight as possible. (Think that scene in The Mummy where Evie says "Let there be light.")

Most candles, unless you were super rich, used tallow. Tallow is beef or mutton fat. I can't imagine it smelled any better than fish oil lamps. If you had the coin, beeswax was the way to go for lighting a party. Then people started to kill sperm whales to extract whale oil which burned with no smell.

Petroleum was discovered during the Industrial Revolution and paraffin extracted from it. The History of Candles - GD Candles

In the 1800’s, candle makers realised the wick was not only the weakest part of the candle, but also the cause for defective burning patterns. A braided wick was then developed in 1825 that seemed to greatly improve the burning quality of the candles. By 1835, a candle making process was developed using paraffin wax and molds. The quality of these candles was great and candle makers found that it burnt well. As gas and electricity were evolving, the candle making process also continued to evolve. It became easier to melt the paraffin wax faster.

candles in the regency era | Jane Austen's World (


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