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Candles have been the main source of lighting till the spread in the 19th century of oil lamps, with which they have coexisted for a time, and later electricity. Candles are made of two parts: a wick, that is a cord of twisted threads of cotton soaked in wax, and the combustible material, ie the wax.
For candles creation several kinds of wax are used, including:
- Beeswax, a "wastage" of honey working (it is the material with which the bees build honeycombs), which burns slowly and gives to candles a pleasant scent (and was in fact the substance used to make candles for the houses of rich people)
- Paraffin, a mixture of hydrocarbons derived from petroleum processing
- Stearin, which can be either of animal origin, when it is extracted from tallow, or vegetable, when it is extracted from some plants, and it helps candles not to drip
- Carnauba wax or other waxes of plant origin
- Tallow, animal fat derived from fat during the slaughter
- Gel wax, which is a mixture of resin and mineral oils, and it is of more recent use
In addition to the type of wax used, the choice of the wick is very important while creating a candle: in fact if its proportions in relation to combustible materials are wrong, the candle can burn emitting smoke, or on the contrary, go off with ease.
To prepare a candle, there are two main procedures: with the first one, after melting the wax at a controlled temperature, you pour the liquid in appropriate molds. With the second one, you dip repeatedly a wick into the melted wax until layer by layer it reaches the desired size.



Last updated
27/05/2015