Monday, December 17, 2012

The History of Candles


In 1962, Christmas candles came in every shape and color to light your holiday home. (photos included)
1. Tall Round, 12" by Flair Candles. 2. Zarape Pillar, 6", by Clare Candles.  3. Bird in Flight, 13", by Flair.  4. Pottery Shape, 9", by Flair. 5. Party Pagoda, 7", by Flair. 6. Dinner Tapers, 15", by Paragon.  7. Party Ball, 4 1/2" diam., by Flair.   8. Giant Folding Prism, 15", by Paragon. 9. Marble Prism, 10", by Paragon 10. Flower Tapers, 15", by Paragon. 11. Vertagrain Pinnacle Prism, 10", by Paragon. 12. Chessman, 18", by Flair.  13. Rainbow Drip, 12", by Flair.  14. Royal Cierge, ribbed and plain, 14" and 10", by Bee Industries.

15. Sun, 12", by Flair. 16. Baroque, 12", by Paragon. 17. Spool, 12", by Flair. 18. Spindle, 15", by Flair. 19. Vertico Stripe Rectangles, 12" and 6", by Flair. 20. Obelisk, 15", Party Bazaar-Dennisons.  21. Left, right, Plantation, 4 3/4" and 3"; center, Cathedral, 6", by Carolina Soap and Candle Makers.  22. Glowing Prixm, 10"and 15", by Paragon.  23. Colossal Royal Queen, 20", by Bee Industries.  24. Zarape Tapers, 15", by Clare. 25. Drop, 4", imported by Svend Jensen of Denmark.  26. Square Taper, 10", imported by Svend Jenson of Denmark.  27. Classic Marble Obelisk, 15", by Paragon.
       The earliest known candles originated in China around 200 BC, and were made from whale fat. Candles did not appear in Europe or the Middle East until sometime after AD 400, due largely to the availability of olive oil for burning in lamps. The early European candle was made from various forms of natural fat, tallow, and wax. In the 18th century, spermaceti, oil produced by the sperm whale, was used to produce a superior candle. Late in the 18th century, colza oil and rapeseed oil came into use as much cheaper substitutes.
"Until of late years, candles were solely manufactured from bees' wax, spermaceti, or tallow. The application of scientific chemical research...all the best candles are now made from the pure solid and crystallizable margaric and stearic acids. These are freed from the fluid oleic acid, and from glycerine, which exist in combination with them in ordinary tallow, as well as from other analogous substances, as from paraffin (a carbo-hygroneous substance resembling spermaceti, prepared from tar and peat), the stearic and margaric acid in the cocoa-nut oil and the palm oil, besides the old substance spermaceti, and wax both vegetable and animal."—Candles, -Eighth edition, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1853
      Paraffin was first distilled in 1830, and revolutionized candle-making, as it was an inexpensive material which produced a high-quality, odorless candle that burned reasonably cleanly. The industry was devastated soon after, however, by the distillation of kerosene (confusingly also called paraffin oil or just paraffin). Recently resin based candles that are freestanding and transparent have been developed, with the claim that they burn longer than traditional paraffin candles. They are usually scented and oil based.
      In the Middle Ages in Europe, tallow candles were the most common candle. By the 13th century, candle making had become a guild craft in England and France. The candle makers (chandlers) went from house to house making candles from the kitchen fats saved for that purpose, or made and sold their own candles from small candle shops.
      Before the invention of electric lighting, candles and oil lamps were commonly used for illumination. In areas without electricity, they are still used routinely. Until the 20th century, candles were more common in northern Europe. In southern Europe and the Mediterranean, oil lamps predominated. In the developed world today, candles are used mainly for their aesthetic value and scent, particularly to set a soft, warm, or romantic ambiance, for emergency lighting during electrical power failures, and for religious or ritual purposes. Scented candles are used in aromatherapy.
How to turn an orange into a candle for your Christmas table.

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