Candles were created by our ancestors centuries ago, even thousands of years ago, not for decoration or fragrance, but simply to provide light in their homes. There was nothing fancy or scented about the candles they made; certainly nobody in those days even thought about accessorizing their homes with candles! They were just simple wax creations used to provide the simple purpose of illumination.
Different types of civilizations made different kinds of candles. The candles that were made depended on the uniqueness of the people who formed them, and their materials varied according to the environment that they were developed in. Each unique culture developed their own candles and used whatever indigenous resources and materials were available to them.
After the advent of worldwide exploration which resulted in different cultures communicating and trading with each other, the base materials for candle-making became more and more standardized. Tallow became more commonly used, although beeswax was also popular with the higher members of society who could afford it.
Shortly after, candle-making became a profession, with “chandlers” going from house to house making candles for people.
Usually, people would provide their own tallow or beeswax, and the chandler just dipped wicks into the molds to form candles. These chandlers were also responsible for opening the first stores that sold candles. Candle molds soon became more developed, and paraffin slowly but surely began to replace tallow as the foremost base for candle-making.
After the 19th century, candle-making became a mechanized industry, which allowed candles to be mass-produced and affordable to the general public. This also resulted in more candles being bought from shops that they were being made at home.
When modern electrical lighting systems were developed, the role of candles as the main sources of light diminished. Candles continued to serve an essential function in religious services and rites, but they no longer played a major role in homes. People didn’t abandon the candle altogether, though, since they were relied upon during power failures and on many occasions and celebrations.
The role of the candle as an accessory in western homes started during the 1980s. Suddenly it became quite the rage for homes to use candles in home décor. A huge variety of candles in all sorts of shapes, colors, and sizes began appearing in candle shops and department stores everywhere. The candle’s fragrance also became a critical ingredient in making and selling them, thus creating a whole new “flavor”.
Candles today have become more popular than ever, with established stores in shopping malls and even on the Internet offering a huge selection of candles for customers. An estimated 70% of homes use candles as part of their home décor, and they have also been accepted as a great gift idea for both men and women. Candles are now one of the top choices if you want to add some delightful charm to your home or create a fragrant ambiance to reduce stress from a hard day’s work. The modern candle today is hardly recognizable from its simple origin as a basic necessity.