My name is Kandall Wick. I will be your guide as you learn the amazingly simple secrets to making candles.
I must admit, this particular section doesn’t contain any information about making candles. Instead, this introduction is designed to help educate one about the origins of candles and the general history of candles.
If you aren’t a history buff and don’t want to burn your wick reading this information, then mosey on over to the safety information to start the process of making candles.
For the rest of us, here’s a little bit of information about candles.
According to the dictionary, a person that makes or sells candles is a chandler.
In the early day, each town, especially in Europe, had their chandler. A chandler had to meet requirements to ensure only good candles were sold. A chandler belonged to the “The Tallow Chandler Guild” which was established in 1462. Amazingly, at this time in history, candles were so important that is was a crime to adulterate wax in any way!
Being a chandler meant going through an apprenticeship. But after your apprenticeship, being a chandler ensured you earned good money.
Candles in the early days were not very good though. Candles were made using tallow. Only the very rich could afford beeswax candles. So the majority of people had to use the low quality tallow candles.
Smoke from a tallow candle smells bad, creates soot and produces noxious fumes.
It was during the 1800’s that candle making really became a business. What most people don’t know is that candle makers and soap makers both required tallow for making their respective products. As a result, Proctor (a candle maker) and Gamble (a soap maker) merged and thus was the creation of Proctor & Gamble!
As times progressed, so did the quality of ingredients and thus candle makers were able to move away from tallow. It was in 1823 that stearin was isolated from tallow. Candle makers discovered that adding extra stearin to their candles created candles that burned with less smoke, brighter light and the stearin helped to create firmer candles.
Then, in the 1850’s, the car was invented. With the invention of the car came the use of petroleum. This meant a whole new industry was created which was the petro-chemical industry. It was at this time that paraffin wax was created.
Paraffin wax burns even brighter and cleaner than tallow. The benefit for chandlers during this time was that paraffin was more easily available. Before paraffin, chandlers had to fight amongst each other and the soap makers to get enough tallow to make their candles.
There were many benefits from using paraffin wax including the fact that paraffin wax releases from moulds more easily than beeswax.
Of course, candles were then replaced by gas lights and then ultimately electricity. Now though, candles are making a comeback for many reasons.