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Arts and Crafts

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The History Of Candles Part 2

Since candles were such a staple, the developments in refining the materials and speeding up the process kept on going and when in the 1820s Michel Eugene Chevreul, a French chemist, found out to derive stearic acid from animal fatty acids, stearin wax came into existence.

A few years later, in 1834, Joseph Morgan revolutionized candle-making by developing a machine that molded and also ejected about 1,500 candles per hour as they hardened.

The discovery of stearic acid proved to have even more advantages during the 1850s, after Laurent managed to find ways for the separation of naturally-occurring wax from petroleum which led to paraffin wax. Paraffin was easier and more economical to produce, but had a low melting point. By adding stearic acid, the problem was solved.

Due to the invention of electricity and the introduction of the light bulb, candles lost most of the popularity, but that renewed during the first half of the 20th century when the meat-packaging industry in the U.S. grew substantially and there was no shortage of materials for making candles.

The candles were mainly used for decorative purposes, gifts, celebrations, ceremonies, and mood setters. Their popularity increased even more during the 1990s when the choice in sizes, color, textures, scents, and appearances broadened considerably.

More candle waxes were developed such as soybean wax, palm wax, and gels. Still, paraffin is the mostly used wax even as of today, followed by beeswax, although the latter is used less frequent.

Each year, a billion pounds of wax goes into making candles in the U.S. alone, which is the second largest use for it. On top of the list are packaging and package coatings for which the wax is used.

Candles can be found in practically every home and when it comes to warmth and ambiance, there is nothing that can hold a candle to them!

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