Why You Need To Know Candle Making History

Published: 05th November 2009
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Perhaps no era of history reminds us of candles as much as the abbeys and monks of the 16th century and the colonial era of U.S. history.



When we think of the time just prior to the Revolutionary War, candles seem to be one of the first items that come to mind. Why even during the war, the cry from Old North Church in Boston involved the lighting of candles, "One if by land, two if by sea."



The warning of how the British would attack would be signaled through the use of . . . . candles!



The itinerant chandler, as found so prevalently in many parts of Europe, was scarce in the U.S. Making candles became part of the normal household function, performed by the wives and daughters.



More often than not, it was an event that only occurred once a year, designed to coincide with the yearly slaughtering of the family's farm animals.



Candle making in the New World was indeed just as hot, tedious and smelly as it had been in Europe, yet, we seem to have romanticized the entire process. And since the process only occurred once a year, the entire procedure turned into quite an event.



Consider that within several days to a week's time, the creation of 200 to 400 candles to last your family throughout the entire year! That's about the number of candles the average colonial family burned in twelve months' time.



So it's not surprising -- given that it was a yearly event that every woman in the town or village performed -- that eventually it became a social event as well. Women soon learned to pull their resources together and socialize at the same time (considering the amount of work to be performed in a single day, how often did you get a chance to visit Martha or Jane?)

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