The art of candle making has been around since the earliest times. Of course, with the passage of time, candles have become much different in design . In the early days, candles were essential for heat and light. Today they function as decorations, wonderfully smelling mechanisms and light sources for romantic dinners and baths.
Clay candles holders have been found in excavations in Egypt which were dated back to 4BC. Candles were also used in ancient times in both China and Japan. The candles here were made of wax extracted from insects and seeds. In India, taper candles were made from the wax extracted from boiled cinnamon.
Tallow ( a by-product from animal fat ) was used to make candles in the 1600’s and 1700’s. The product worked well but burned with a really bad smell. Tallow was replaced in the 1800s when Bees wax and paraffin wax were introduced.
In the 1800’s, candle makers generally felt the wick was the weakest component of the candle. It was also the major contributor to defective burning patterns. In 1825 a braided wick was developed and this seemed to improve the burning of most types of candles. Within 5 years, a process was developed to produce candles using paraffin wax and moulds. These candles were well made, good quality and burned well.
The wide introduction of gas and electricity meant that it became easier and quicker to melt the paraffin wax. The candle however became less important as the introduction of electricity gained pace. As a result the actual production techniques used in candle production never really developed much further.
Nowadays, candles are more of an art form. The candles can be made on the smallest of scales – even in the home – and have unique fragrances, colours, characteristics and design shapes. The requirement for heat and light now being less of an important feature. A well chosen candle can add the right design element to a room or the centrepiece of a table.