History of Candles goes Wayyy Back!
History of Candles:
Greek Mythology and Candles? Nahhhh!
Well, not really but it does prove that wax was popular enough 5000 years ago to write stories about it and is part of the history of candles. This Greek Mythology story starts with an architect named Dedalos. It seems Dedalos was hired by King Minos to build him a palace and then imprisoned the great architect so he would not reveal the secrets of the palace.
Dedalos was not only a great architect. He was also a great inventor. So, with plenty of time on his hands Dedalos formed 2 sets of wings made of wax so he and his son Ikaros could free themselves of the King and the Island and fly away to freedom.
The great builder of The Palace of Minos warned his young brash son, that when they took flight, to make sure he didn't fly to high because the closer he got to the sun it would melt the wax and he would plummet to the ground and die.
Oh Yeah, He crashed and ...
As the young and daring Ikaros gained his bearings and became comfortable in flight, he flew higher and higher. So high, and got close enough to the sun, and as his father had predicted, the sun melted the wax which dismantled the wings and his son fell to his death in the Aegean Sea. Oh Well....Good story though.
Here comes the wicks...
It was really the Romans who are now credited with the first wicked candles made from tallow of beef or sheep fat. This is a big innovation of candle history. The vegetarians in those days must have just gone nuts. The Middle ages brought in the advent of bees wax candles which burned a lot cleaner and didn't have that burnt flesh smell of the tallow candles. But the costs were to great for all but the very rich.
The First American Candle. Bayberry??
In Colonial America candle making was born when they started boiling the berries of bayberry bushes which produced a sweet smelling wax. But the process of making bayberry candles was long and tedious. This really was the first naturally scented candle and a big part of candle history and scented candle history.
This made the bayberry candles expensive and soon all but disappeared as candle makers found other waxes easier to use and sell. This is a big part of the history of candles. But the lowly bayberry candle was really the first natural wax candle since the advent of beeswax. And was the first naturally scented candle and are still produced today and still very expensive, but well worth buying one just for the history of candles.
A whale of a candle arrives...
The 18th century brought on a significant changes in candle making when wax was produced from sperm whale oil. And when burned there was no odor, plus it was a harder wax so the heat of summer didn't cause them to melt and bend. The whalers kept early America and other countries in an ample supply and was soon found to have other applications as lighting streets and lanterns.
In the mid 1800's the production of paraffin candles began, which is a product left over after refining oil and coal shale, paraffin is the residue left after oil is refined. Paraffin enjoyed a great run and is still in widespread use today. The biggest reason it is still in use today because as we have for years relied upon the petroleum industry to run our vehicles it is in great supply and was cheaper than any of the natural waxes.
But with the depletion of oil reserves and being forced to rely on foreign oil this is no longer the case and the cost between natural waxes and petroleum wax is about the same.
And as consumers are becoming more and more health conscience and educating themselves on "green" and eco-friendly products that they bring into and use in their homes, natural wax candles are enjoying a bigger share of the market every year.
History of Scented Candles...
Go East Young Candle Lover!
For the scented candle history and to find the origins of the scented candle we have to travel to the Eastern World. We can credit the Chinese with scenting the first candles with wax from insects combined with seeds. And from the Japanese history of candles were made from wax of tree nuts, which gave off a distinctive scent and India made candle wax from boiling fruit from a cinnamon tree.
But scented candles really came about at the same time candles did some 5,000 years ago when the Egyptians added bathing oils to their candles to soften the disgusting smell of the burning of tallow oil candles. These herbal and floral oils and fragrances are enjoying popularity today and are called essential oils, which are also used in lotions, soups and massage oils. As you can see the scented chandler history came a long way in this period. And a big part of candle history.
History of Soy Candles...
Who the heck is Michael Richards??
No, not the wise acre Kramer of "Seinfeld" fame, the Michael Richards we're talking about was a beeswax candler in the early 1990's noticing a rising demand in natural wax candles and also recognizing that his beeswax were 10 times more expensive than the paraffin wax candles he began his research into other natural waxes. He is the hero of the recent history of candles. He experimented with waxes ranging from plant waxes and vegetable oils that would be cost competitive with paraffin wax.
The Soy Candle Is Born! With a ton of Candle history behind it!
Michael started combining hydrogenated soy oil with his beeswax candles. Hydrogenation of soy oil is simply passing hydrogen bubbles through soy oil and this process solidifies oil to a solid. At this time Michael's largest customer was The Body Shop, yes that one, they were selling Michael's beeswax/almond oil blend, as almond oil became more expensive and harder to find, Michael switched to a soy/beeswax blend and became an instant hit with The Body Shop candle lovers.
Michael experimented with other vegetable and plant waxes, to make a variety of candles, i.e. container, pillar etc. In 1996 Michael Richards completely replaced his beeswax with candles with the first 100% soy wax candle.
Changing of the Guard
In 2001 Cargill bought Michaels patents and intellectual properties of the soy wax innovation. Now Cargill manufactures soybean wax and supplies the soy wax to candle producers around the world. Under the name of NatureWax.
Thank You, Michael Richards For being a big part of the scented soy candles and the history of candles and for your continuing support. To learn more about Michael Richards, his role in the history of candles and what he's up to now: http://www.soyawax.com/about.asp
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