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The History Of Candles Essay

1370 words - 5 pages

In the beginning of man-kind the only source of light was sunlight or firelight. Candles delivered an entirely new perspective, allowing us to travel and complete tasks in the night. Up until the 1900’s candles were the only source of light other than sunlight (“The history of candles and candle making from candlewic” 1). Over history there have been many changes and advancements in the candle making process and its uses.
At the very start of civilization cavemen were discovering the brand new idea of transporting fire. Once they realized saturating wood with left over animal fat fueled the flame, improvements of the idea appeared quickly. One of the very first improvements the cavemen partook in was covering the interior walls of the cave in fat soaked sticks and wedging them into the cracks of the cave walls. This extinguished darkness and gave them a more convenient lighting system (Schutz 11).
All at once many civilizations were discovering a new design of candles that resembled candles made today. It is thought the Roman Empire created the first candle that is similar to our modern day candle. These candles were molded in two different forms, one with similarities to a torch and the other with a twisted wick. The first, a torch-like candle, had a “… predominant fibrous center and was used as a portable light for night travelers” (Schutz 12). The other had a thin core of fibers that were twisted and braided together. This type of candle was mainly used inside homes for concentrated light (Schutz 12). These early candles were made from extracted animal fat called tallow and were made by a simple process of melting and pouring the fat into a mold. The distinction that made it more like our modern day candles was by inserting fibrous strips into the wax, which were the ancient form of a wick (“The history of candles and candle making by candlewic” 1).
The Egyptians also created a candle-like tool called rushlights that had a similar shape to torches, but since it had no tangible wick it was not accepted as a real candle (“History of candle making” 1). These were an improvement over torches because they had elongated pith centers that were coated in tallow. This advancement was passed down throughout the ancient Phoenicians and Greeks, being perfected along the way (Schutz 12). Enhancements like wood selection, braided wicks, and wax type all coincide to form the best candle man could make. For example, man-kind learned that straight-grained wood, like pine, burns better. Through experience and practice we discovered the resin in the wood allows a constant, even burn (Schutz 12).We also learned braided wicks, invented in the early 19th century, allowed a uniform burn and prevented dismal burning. The new wax coated fibers from the wick provided a constant length, curling at the end, so it was easily consumed by the flame (“The history of candles and candle making by candlewic” 2).
Candles had the main purpose of being a light source for...

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