Even though candles are a source of light that people no longer have to depend on using, they remain extremely popular. Why is that the case? That’s because they’re very versatile household items. They can be used to set a romantic atmosphere for that special dinner, they can be used in the event of a power outage as emergency lighting, and they can be used as decorative décor in the home. And in the case of scented candles, they can even be used for aromatherapy.
Candles are such an important item nowadays, we’ve decided to write a guide on the subject. A guide that will detail the history of candles, talk about how candles are manufactured, how long they last, and what people should consider before they buy new candles. Now that we’ve stated our purpose for this guide, let’s jump right into the thick of things by talking about the history of candles.
The History Of Candles
Candles are an invention that goes back thousands of years. Candles were first invented in ancient Rome and widely used in ancient Egypt. These early candles didn’t have wicks, however. Instead, they had reed that was soaked in animal tallow. At this time, the Chinese were also making candles, but they didn’t use animal tallow but instead used whale fat—which burned more cleanly and didn’t have the annoying smell of tallow.
During the Middle Ages, candles were something that was only used by nobility or wealthy merchants in Europe. Most commoners couldn’t afford candles, so they had to leave their homes unlit or resort to using rushlights—lights that were made by soaking the dried pith of a rush plant in rendered animal fat. These lights were extremely inexpensive, but they didn’t provide a whole lot of light. Rushlights continued to be used throughout rural England through the end of the 19th century.
How Are Candles Made?
Even though making candles used to be a time-consuming process, modern candle making is an automated process that allows the manufacture to mass-produce thousands of candles at a time—even though some companies do hand make candles. Most candles start out with the manufacturer using some form of wax—usually paraffin, beeswax, or soy wax—that’s melted down and poured into a mold. The manufacturer then adds scents and coloring to the wax. The candles are then allowed to cook and are packaged and shipped to the consumer.
How Long Do Candles Last?
Although there are a variety of different things that can affect how long a candle will last—including the density of the candle, the type of wick used, and the type of wax used—we can give our readers an estimate of how long certain candles will burn on average. A 10-inch tapered candle will last about 10-hours on average. On the other hand, a large jar candle, such as a Yankee Candle, will probably last anywhere from 125 to 150-hours, if not longer.
The Types Of Candles Sold Today
Although we can’t possibly list every single type of candle currently available since candles are now made in a wide variety of different shapes and styles, we can cover some of the basic candle “styles” that people will have to choose from to buy the best candle for their needs. Some of the candles available nowadays include:
- Tapered Candles
- Votive Candles
- Tea Lights
- Floating Candles
- Candle Pot or Jars
The Basics Of Candle Safety
Before we proceed with this guide, we’d like to take a few moments to talk about candle safety. According to statistics, candles cause approximately 2% of reported home fire, 3% of fire deaths in the home, and 6% of the fire-related injuries that happen in the home. That’s why it’s extremely important for people to use common sense when burning candles and make sure that they follow the best candle burning procedures and safety measures. Below are some safety tips that everyone is going to want to think about before burning their next candle.
- Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for trimming the wick before lighting.
- Make sure that candles are only burned in a well-ventilated room.
- Make sure that the candle is in a candle-holder on a stable heat-resistant surface.
- Remove matches, wax trimmings, and other types of debris from around the wick.
- Never move a candle once it’s been lit.
- Keep candles away from pets and animals.
- Keep candles away from flammable materials.
- Always keep the candle in direct sight.
- Never leave a candle unattended or go to sleep with the candle burning.
- Keep candles out of uneven air currents and direct drafts.
- Always snuff out a candle with a candle snuffer.
- Never extinguish a candle using water.
- Make sure the candle is completely extinguished before leaving the room.
- Don’t touch the candle until it has completely cooled.
How To Buy The Best Candle Available
Now, let’s conclude this guide by talking about some of the things that consumers are going to want to think about when they’re purchasing their next candle. By thinking about the following candle features, the consumer will be able to come closer to their perfect candle and make sure they buy one that’s going to work well for them.
Candle Wax Types
Candles are made with one of three types of waxes: Soy, Paraffin, or Beeswax. Each of these different types of waxes has its own pros and cons, so let’s take a quick look at each type before moving on.
Soy candles are more expensive than other candles but burn well. They’re also less toxic than paraffin. Because soy candles are soft, they’re often made into jar candles.
Paraffin candles are affordable, but some people question whether these candles are healthy to burn or not because they release chemicals while they burn.
Beeswax candles burn slower than other candles, and they’re a little more expensive than paraffin candles. Overall, candles made with beeswax are high-quality.
Other Things To Consider
Before purchasing a candle, also make sure that you consider the following candle features:
- Wick Type