Emitting a soft, warm, ambient glow, candles have been used for centuries for warding off the blackness of night. Dating back to at least 500 BC, candles were developed independently across the globe and were made from natural substances like beef tallow, whale fat, boiled cinnamon, beeswax, and yak butter.
In the 1850s, Scottish chemist James Young first distilled paraffin wax from residues left over after crude petroleum was refined into kerosene. Creating a bluish-white wax that burned cleanly compared with tallow, paraffin wax was cheap to produce and quickly became the preeminent candle making material.
With the invention of the incandescent light bulb in 1879, candles have become more of a decorative, mood-setting, celebratory item than the lighting utility it once was. And who doesn’t love the glimmer of a flickering flame, the dancing shadows, the subtle light that only a candle can provide?
But, as with so many modern advances, lighting a candle inside your home is not as harmless as it may seem…
Via Stephanie Jo Rountree