Who knew candles had such an interesting and colorful history? The simple device has held important roles in the shaping of our present. You won’t be able to imagine a world that never had one candle when you’re done going through this article. Read these facts about candles, and prepare to be surprised at how essential these sticks of dried wax and cotton have been to society.
1. You might’ve been burning your candles wrong.
You heard us. Yes, you probably have been doing it wrong but you’re not alone. Candles don’t usually come with manuals, and they appear simple enough to use without needing one. However, there is one step you need to take when lighting a new candle.
The first burn is what matters, and needs to be done correctly. The candle should be left burning until the entire top layer melts into a pool of liquid. This prevents what we call tunneling, which is when the flame burns through the middle of the candle and leaves the outer wax untouched.
2. Candles that have tunneled can be saved.
Don’t panic. If it has already begun tunneling, it can still be fixed. Place it in a jar, or a similar container that can withstand high temperatures and conduct heat. Then wrap the outer part in tin foil, almost covering the top. Leave space where the wick is. This distributes more of the heat to the outer layer of the candle, making it melt faster.
Remember to keep it burning until the outer wax is on even level with the inner core. It usually takes several hours. Check every now and then as an additional precaution. Once done, the tunneling is gone, and you’ll have a perfect candle.
3. Candles aren’t meant to smoke.
It especially applies to all-natural ones. If smoke does emit from the wick, there’s a small issue that you can easily correct: the wick is too long. The ideal height of the wick is ¼ inch or 6mm, not too tall that it to start releasing smoke, and not too short that it would cause tunneling. Any ordinary pair of scissors, also known as crafting scissors, would do.
4. Candles are much older than some of history’s biggest wars.
Did you know it’s even older than Julius Caesar, a great figure in Roman history and once a ruler of its empire? Sound familiar? Hint: Cleopatra. Although petroleum became the most used ingredient for making candles later on, it was originally made from animal fat, and then beeswax.
The first candles were used to celebrate the birth of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon, the hunt, and virginity because the flame was thought to represent the glow of moonlight. That’s how the birthday cake was born! Yep! The candles were presented on these timeless pastries. It was thought that the smoke carried their prayers to the heavens, which is a common belief among religions.
5. Candles were a substitute for food in hard times.
Because the first candles were made from cow fat and beeswax, they were technically edible. History was often marked with periods of great starvation across entire nations. With less developed irrigation systems and equipment, agriculture was much more vulnerable to the elements. When poor harvest collided with little to no trade, people would barely have enough to eat.
Naturally, people turned to other sources. It was no surprise to find candles were stolen, in place of food, during a famine. While we do keep our candles all-natural, we don’t recommend eating them. Even if the days of chowing down on candles are long gone, they still affect our appetite. How? Through scent. You might want to rethink lighting a scented candle around mealtime.
Final Thoughts on History with Candles
Today, the candle industry still goes through changes as it’s affected by the economy, societal practices and beliefs, and other factors. Their role, and the role of every kind of candle, continues to evolve to this day.
After learning just a few facts about candles, it reveals the level of interesting, and even exciting things, that can be expected to come from this simple stick of dried wax and cotton. Follow our page for trivia like this and more!