A form of private street lighting began in Dublin as early as 1616 when the Candlelight Law was passed,
"compelling every fifth house to display a light within prescribed hours of the night for the guidance of street-users".
A candle's flame has two distinct regions. The bluer, hotter region
near the wick, burns hydrogen combined with atmospheric oxygen to
form water vapour. The brighter yellow part of the flame is carbon
being oxidised to form carbon dioxide, the same by-products
produced by breathing.
Someone who makes candles is known as a chandler.
With the fairly consistent and measurable burning of a candle, a
common use in the past was to measure time. The accuracy of this
however, would have been relatively poor!
Candles can be made of
paraffin (a by-product of oil refining),
stearin (now produced almost exclusively from palm waxes),
beeswax (a by-product of
collection), some plant waxes (generally palm,
bayberry, or soy), or
tallow (a rarely used by-product of beef fat rendering).
The amount of soot produced by a candle, irrespective of wax type, depends on
factors such as draughts or poorly sized wicks, which will lead to sooting.
Decorative candle holders, especially those shaped as a pedestal,
candlesticks; if multiple candles are held, the term
candelabrum is also used
The root form of
chandelier is from the word for candle, though candles are
rarely raised and hung today.
Until the 1970s, lead was commonly used to provide a rigid core
for the wicks of container candles, whose wicks tended to sag and
extinguish as the pool of wax became too large.
A Rushlight is a type of
candle formed using the dried
rush plant as its
The pith was typically dipped in any household
grease that was available, although
beeswax or good
tallow improved the quality of the light. Long before
electricity or even
candles, a rushlight provided very economical lighting. A
rushlight 2/3 of a
long (about 2 feet) might burn for an hour and cost practically
nothing to make.
candela (symbol: cd,
for candle) is one of the seven
SI base units measuring the
luminous intensity of a light source. It supersedes the former
- Candles were invented circa 3000 BC.
- Candle industry research indicates that the most important
factors affecting candle sales are scent, color, cost and shape.
Fragrance is by far the most important characteristic, with
three-fourths of candle purchasers saying it is "extremely
important" or "very important" in their selection of a candle for
- Candle manufacturers' surveys show that 96% of all candles
purchased are bought by women.
- Candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the
living room (42%), followed by the kitchen (18%) and the bedroom
- U.S. retail sales of candles are estimated at approximately $2
billion annually, excluding sales of candle accessories.
- Consumers say they typically burn candles for just under three
- Nine out of ten candle users say they use candles to make a
room feel comfortable or cosy.
- Candle purchasers view candles as an appropriate gift for the
holidays (76%), as a house warming gift (74%), a hostess/dinner
party gift (66%), a thank you (61%) and as adult birthday gifts
- Tea lights are the most frequently purchased type of candle,
followed by votives and container candles.
- The "Magic Candles",
available in confectionary stores are candles which cannot be blown
out, as they re-ignite. This is because the wax is treated with red
phosphorus. The glowing wick will make the little particles of
phosphorus spark up and make the candle burst back into flame.
Michael Faraday, the 19th-century scientist, once wrote; "there is
no more open door by which you can enter into the study of natural
philosophy [science] than by considering the phenomena of a