Candles have been a part of human history for thousands of years; they are one of our earliest—and greatest—inventions. The first known reference to candles was more than 5,000 years ago in Avignon, France, where “rush lights” (rushes dipped in fat) were used to light great halls, cottages, shops and churches.
From there, candle making steadily advanced to use a variety of different materials. Everyday candles were typically made with animal fat from sheep or cows (tallow), beeswax or spermaceti (a substance derived from oil found in sperm whales). Tallow candles had the dimmest light and usually had a very foul odor; beeswax candles were less expensive and brighter, but not quite as bright as spermaceti candles (which were also less expensive, too!).
By the 19th century, patented candle-making machines were starting to be developed and allowed for mass-produced candles to be widely available and affordable. During this time, scientists created a new substance called “stearine” by extracting glycerine from tallow. Stearine was harder than tallow and burned brighter and longer.
During this time, innovations with wicks also led to even better candles. Instead of simply twisting strands of cotton, new wicks were plaited tightly so that the burned portions would curl upon themselves instead of falling into the candle as it burned. This eliminated the need to trim or clean wicks as a candle burned.
Additional candle developments like the addition of lime, palmatine and paraffin to mixtures further developed the commercial candle business. Many of these innovations are still used in candle making today, though the processes have been streamlined with the use of professional equipment and tools. Large-scale melters, cookers, and bowls for lifting and pouring all make mass candle-making faster and easier than ever.
For more than 100 years, the experts at Savage Bros. have been developing and refining professional candle-making equipment. From extruders, thermometers, cutters, mixers and more, we are the company to call for all of your candle-making equipment needs. Contact us today to learn how our products can help make your candle-making processes easier and more efficient than ever.