Candles are one of the oldest and most versatile forms of artificial lighting. The earliest evidence for candles being used as a light source dates back to 1500 BC and they have been in use ever since. But how many questions do you have about them? Who invented them? When were they first documented? And what is their history? In this article, we will answer all of these questions and more!
The history of candles
The first candles date back to the time of ancient Egypt when the wax was used for furniture polish and lighting torches in temples. In those days, tallow from animals would be melted down into a liquid form and then mixed with herbs or other fragrances as well as beeswax to create what we know now as soaps.
The mixture was poured into molds which were sometimes decorated before they hardened on their own due to being exposed to air. These early “candles” were often lit by hand until it became possible that they could be set alight using fire starters, such as flint stones or tinder made out of dried mosses, tree bark, resin, or pitch.
The candles of the ancient Egyptians were often used as a form of decoration in tombs and homes before they began to be used for lighting purposes during long absence from daylight. The Egyptian’s candles were also not made with any wick whatsoever, meaning that they would have burnt down constantly at an incredibly slow pace.
It wasn’t until around 500 AD when evidence shows tapers being manufactured in Europe using tallow like their predecessors did in Egypt before them while still remaining largely unused because there was no practical use for light outside of religious ceremonies and private spaces such as bedrooms.
Candles became more popular after 400AD thanks to Emperor Nero who is credited with creating “Nero Candles” out of a mixture of beeswax, animal fat, and tree resins.
Candles were used for light during the dark Middle Ages due to their affordability as well as effectiveness in lighting up spaces without any other form of source.
In the 1470s, it is believed that “beeswax candles” became available for purchase thanks to an innovation by Bartolomeo Marchionni who was then given the name Cavaliere del Lume which means “Knight or Light.”
19th Century Advances
The size and shape of candles have been constantly altered throughout history but they would not be what we know now if it weren’t for American inventor John Walker (1781-1859). He invented matches in 1827 before going on to invent the machine that improved the efficiency of the already existing candle-making techniques in 1831.
While candles were being used by Europeans before they would be introduced into other parts of Asia and Africa as more efficient sources for lighting started becoming available – namely gas lamps, electric lights, and even flashlights.
It wasn’t until around 1900 that candles were no longer being made using animal fat and would instead use paraffin wax which is what most people continue to buy today. There are several differences between these two forms of wax: Paraffin is a by-product from petroleum while beeswax has its roots in natural products; one can melt at higher temperatures than the other which means you need different tools depending on your preference.
There are many reasons why people choose to use candles today:
- for decoration when entertaining guests or just during dinner time because it adds an ambiance while also adding warmth;
- out of partiality towards ancient times because they still enjoy their fragrance without having any harmful chemicals added due to being natural products;
- some people prefer using them because there is no smoke involved which makes them safer for children with asthma or allergies.
Candles Invented in the 20th Century
In the 20th century, thanks to advances in technology and innovations with other sources of light – candles were becoming more affordable than ever before.
Candles became popular for use during religious ceremonies which led to mass production as well as advancements when it came to types and shapes on offer: For example “taper” shaped tapers are still available today but also candlestick holders that can be used for a variety of purposes depending on what occasion you are attending or how much you want to spend.
However, there’s been some drawbacks associated with candle usage such as being caused by wicks that produce soot because they don’t always have enough oxygen supply from the flame itself; then to is the fact that most candles are made from a variety of different waxes, oils and even animal fats – which can be harmful to humans.
The 21st Century In the early years of the current decade (2010-2019), it is believed that over 85% of people all around the world still use candles for some form or another. Candles have become more popular than ever before thanks in part due to their affordability and efficiency when compared to other forms of light sources as well as them being available at grocery stores and gas stations nationwide.
Today, candles are made from a variety of different waxes and oils – with the most used being soy. Soy is often thought to be more environmentally friendly than beeswax as it doesn’t require deforestation or addiction to beehives which makes them less likely for people in colder climates where they would need heaters to maintain their body temperature.
There have also been innovations when it came to making candle wicks better so that they don’t produce an excess amount of smoke while still providing light due to the flame itself not having enough oxygen supply available even though this can sometimes lead back into producing more fumes because there’s no way for those produced by burning substances such as oil or wax (which come mostly from petroleum).