A Brief History of Candles
For centuries man's progress has been lighted by candles.
However, people know only very few things about the origin of
candles. It has been written that the first candles were made by
the Ancient Egyptians. They used rushlights, or torches, made by
soaking the pithy core of reeds in molten tallow. Unlike the
candles, the rushlights had no wick. The Romans were the ones who
it is said to have developed the wick candle. They used it to
help travellers at dark, and to light homes and places of worship
during the night.
America's first contribution to candle-making was made by
colonial women who discovered that if they boiled the grayish
green berries of bayberry bushes they got a sweet-smelling wax
that burned clean. But it was extremely tedious to extract the
wax from the bayberries so their popularity soon diminished. The
first important change in candle making since the Middle Ages was
bought by the growth of the whaling industry in the late 18th
century. Spermaceti, a wax obtained by crystallizing sperm whale
oil, was available in large quantities. The spermaceti wax, as
well as beeswax, did not smell unpleasantly when burned. Even
more importantly, spermaceti wax was harder than tallow and
beeswax and it did not soften or bend because of the summer heat.
Historians write that the first candles as we know them were made
from spermaceti wax.
During the 19th century, people made most of the changes in
candle making. In 1834, Joseph Morgan, invented a machine, which
allowed continuous production of candles by the use of a
cylinder, which had a movable piston that ejected candles as they
solidified. Today, they are no longer a major source of light for
people, but candles continue to be very popular and useful.
Candles mean celebration, romance, ceremony, and can be an object
of décor, while casting the same warm and enjoyable
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