About the candle flame
Tallow. That’s what the Romans used to make candles around 500BC. What is tallow, I hear you ask. It’s rendered beef or mutton fat. solid at room temperature, it doesn’t need refrigeration if stored in an airtight container. That means it won’t get stinky.
Various Chinese dynasties back around 200 BC were using whale fat and beeswax. Japanese candles have been found that used wax extracted from tree nuts. In India cinnamon was boiled and the extracted wax used for temple candles. Tibetans used yak butter. Indigenous peoples form Oregona and Alaska lit a dried fish on the end of a stick.
Chandlers in the middle ages plied their trade with tallow candles. Too smelly for use in churches, beeswax was restricted for that purpose. Candle making in England and France was so highly regarded that by the 13th century it became a guild craft. In 1456 The Tallow Chandlers Company of London was granted its own coat of arms. The first candle moulds were made in France in the 1500’s.
With the booming whaling industry in the 18th century the availability of spermaceti was widely used in candle making. It made a better quality candle that did not smell and shone brighter. By 1800 an even cheaper and better alternative was found in colza and rapeseed oils. In 1825 two French chemists patented stearin. Candle making was revolutionised in England with the development of a patented machine. Industrialised marketing was established by the mid 19th century. This in turn heralded the mass production and marketing of candles that were affordable and readily available.
An offshoot of the petroleum industry was the discovery of paraffin wax. ‘Paraffin could be used to make inexpensive candles of high quality. It was a bluish-white wax, burned cleanly, and left no unpleasant odor, unlike tallow candles. A drawback to the substance was that early coal- and petroleum-derived paraffin waxes had a very low melting point. The introduction of stearin, discovered by Michel Eugène Chevreul, solved this problem. Stearin is hard and durable, with a convenient melting range of 54–72.5 °C (129.2–162.5 °F). By the end of the 19th century, most candles being manufactured consisted of paraffin and stearic acid.‘
By the late 1800’s candles were replaced by more superior lighting methods such as kerosene. Candle were confined to decorative and other uses such as in churches. By the 1990’s candles had taken yet another twist with scented, coloured candles being made by blending oils such as soya, palm and flax seed oil in paraffin wax.
Does your candle create tunnels and become lopsided when it burns? That’s because it it is not burning evenly. To prevent that happening let it burn long enough so the whole top layer of wax becomes liquid.
What is the best way to put out a candle? Use a candle snuffer. It suffocates the candle and stops it from producing a lot of soot and smoke if you blow it out. As well as retaining the integrity of the candle energy.
The romantic,magical, esoteric and mystical candle
Candles evoke mood, mystery, a sense of the sacred. Hence their use during romantic dates and dinners, in churches, temples, religious and spiritual ceremonies, rituals both public and private. I use candles often at home. Always during meditation.