No single person or even civilization is credited with the invention of the candle. This is because they were created on a widespread and independent basis. We can, however, trace the history of the candle based on artifacts that have been unearthed.
The oldest candle relics date back to 3,000 BC. These relics came from an excavation that took place in Egypt. Since these candles were made of beeswax, it is believed that this was the first material ever used to produce a candle. The ancient Egyptians were excellent candle makers, and even created holders for them. These were made out of clay, and were also unearthed during the excavation.
The mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang, ruler of the Qin Dynasty up until 221 BC, contained candles that were made of the fat of whales. This was an amazing discovery not just because of how these candles were, but because of what they were made of. Prior to this discovery in the 1990’s, no one had even considered whale fat as a possible candle material.
The earliest candles found in India were made from cinnamon. These early people had discovered that they could boil cinnamon down, and use the sweet smelling wax to create candles. Out of all the early candles, this was one of the most creative, and certainly one of the best smelling. The candles were likely used to illuminate the grand Indian temples.
The American Indian is currently credited with creating the first candles in the United States. The Indians used a most unique method that involved boiling or melting down Candlefish. This oily fish was plentiful, and would release the fat they needed to make candles. The oldest American Indian candles date back to around the first century.
The history of the candle in Europe got a later start, sometime around the 1300’s. These candles were produced from the fat of cattle or sheep. This fat is called tallow, and while it burned effectively, it also smelled horrible. So horrible in fact, that residents of towns that had candle factories in them often complained so much that some of the factories were closed down.
Residents of the early American colonies produced their own version of candles, but their methods were not fast or easy. They used bayberries to get their wax, and it took a lot of these berries to produce even a small amount of wax. There were a few whale fat candles used in the early American colonies, but this was rare because of the fact that this material was hard to come by.
The 1800’s is when candle making really took off. Inventors such as Joseph Morgan, William Colgate, and Joseph Sampson all contributed to how candles were made and sold. All of these people had a hand in making candles what they are today.
The history of the candle is quite fascinating, and it truly amazing that what we now use to scent and illuminate our homes, was once something that was used as the sole means of light. To read even more interesting information about the history of the candle, check out the source links below.
The History of Candle Making
The History of Candles and Their Many Uses
History of Candles