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History Of Candles: Wicks And Waxes

History Of Candles: Wicks And Waxes. Many people enjoy burning candles and aren’t particularly fussy about it. It’s just a matter of what appeals to them.

Many people enjoy burning candles and aren’t particularly fussy about it. It’s just a matter of what appeals to them. Candles are mainly bought for the home to burn in lounge rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and wherever a candle would look good and safe to burn.  Candle scent can set the mood of a room and create an overall ambience.

However, there are just as many people who don’t share alike for candles. What is there not to like? There are many reasons and here are some of them: don’t like the smell (which is attributed to the wax not necessarily the scent of the fragrance or oil). Even unscented candles make some people sneeze. Candles would drip and leave a mess that was difficult to clean up. Candles wouldn’t burn all the way down.

Candles near their end were not very attractive or misshapen.  Wicks wouldn’t stay alight and the candle was rendered useless and a waste of money.  Hot candle wax with children around is a risk. These days we have access to several different types of waxes for candles. While paraffin wax is still the most popular in terms of mass production, more people are becoming aware of the nasty toxins emitted from burning paraffin wax candles and turning to more natural waxes such as beeswax, palm wax and soy wax.

There is a lot of information on these types of waxes and it seems there are pros and cons to using each of them, however, they are all non-toxic and all claim that they are produced with little or no impact to the environment.  It, therefore, gets down to personal choice.

The wick plays an important role in the making of a great burning candle. As there are different waxes for different purposes, there are also different wicks.  One type of wick doesn’t suit all types of waxes no matter how natural the fibres are.  It’s a matter of matching the wick to wax that helps create the perfect burning candle. There is a huge choice of natural candles available and all claim to use the best available waxes, wicks and fragrances and oils. There is a simple reason for this.

They want the best outcome, so they put the best ingredients.
Soy wax is temperamental to use as it depends on different temperatures when melting, adding scent and colour, to being poured and even the temperature of the air in which candles are set to cure can all alter the look and burn of a candle.

TheTLCollection prefers to use superior class soy wax. Wicks made for soy wax and then specially selected for each container type. Quality essential oils and fragrances specifically blended for the type of soy wax we use and colours that match.
It is for the challenges of perfecting long burn time, scented and coloured soy candles that we find the most rewarding and loveliest to make. So for those who don’t like burning candles, perhaps it’s time to try a handmade soy wax candle.  No harmful chemicals, designed to burn from wick to rim and top to bottom, easy to clean with warm soapy water, and no hot wax. In fact, after extinguishing the flame you can dip your finger in the wax and rub it into your hands to use as a moisturizer. © Trudi Philip


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Light Up Your Life The Natural Way

Soy Candles

Today many of us can say “let there be light” and with the flick of a switch, we turn on an electrical lighting appliance. However, prior to the invention of electricity, it was candles that were used to light the way. So how did candles come about?

The ancient Romans made their candles from tallow (animal fat) which was melted and poured over strips of flax, hemp or cotton wicks. The early Chinese used wax from an indigenous insect and seeds with rolled rice paper for a wick. In Japan, they used wax extracted from tree nuts, in India they used a waxy substance made from boiling the fruit of the cinnamon tree and the Egyptians soaked the pithy core of reeds in melted animal fat.

In the 13th century, candle making became a guild craft in England and France and candle makers known as chandlers would go from house to house to make candles from saved kitchen fats. They also began selling candles from small candle shops.

Beeswax came about in the middle ages making a significant difference as beeswax burned pure and clean without producing a smoky flame. It also threw out a sweet aroma compared to the vile smell of animal fat. However, beeswax was limited in supply and usually only available for sacred/religious ceremonies or the wealthy.

The colonial settlers in the USA discovered that boiling the berries from the bayberry bush produced a sweet smelling and good burning candle. They also discovered it was an extremely slow and tiring process and so became less inclined to be used.

The whaling industry in the 18th century made a huge change in candle making.  The discovery of crystallizing sperm whale oil called Spermaceti wax became the replacement for tallow, beeswax, and bayberry wax. It was affordable and available in abundance and while the spermaceti wax still had a rather unpleasant smell, the wax produced a brighter light and could still hold shape in the hottest months.

The 19th century brought monumental changes to candle making. Firstly, Stearin wax (an extract from animal fatty acids) was discovered. This wax was hard, durable, burned cleanly and drastically improved the quality of candles.
Secondly, wicks became an important feature.  From simply twisted strands of cotton that needed constant attention to keep alight, the braided wick was invented. These were tightly plaited which helped the candle burn in entirety and with less maintenance.

Thirdly, with the invention of machinery came the continuous production of affordable, quality candles.
However, it was the last discovery in the 1850s with the introduction of an oil distillate known as paraffin wax that had made the greatest impact on candle making. Chemists in Battersea, UK discovered how to separate a naturally occurring waxy substance from petroleum and refine it.  Paraffin wax burned cleanly and consistently and by adding stearic acid, which hardened the wax, a superior and cheaper candle was in commercial mass production.

Declining in the late 1870s with the introduction of the light bulb, candles made a resurgence during the first half of the 20th century due to oil and meatpacking industries producing an increase in the by-products of paraffin and stearic acid. Candles maintained their popularity as a light source but it was a boom in the mid-1980s that suddenly saw candles available in an assortment of sizes, shapes and colours and scents that candles became more household decorative pieces and mood setters.

New types of candle waxes were being developed in the 1990s including synthetic and chemically synthesized waxes and gels for specifically candle uses and by the late ‘90s, soy and palm wax became available.
While many of us no longer need to rely on candles for lighting, we still rely on candles for significant occasions: Carols by Candlelight wouldn’t be the same without candles. A birthday cake isn’t as much fun without blowing out candles. An intimate dinner for two is so much more romantic with candles.  A luxurious soak in a bubble bath is so much more relaxing when soaking by candlelight.  A muscle-relaxing massage or taking time to meditate is so much more enjoyable with the scent of an aromatherapy candle. Eco-soya, scented and coloured candles TL Collection range. – Trudi