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Sunday, 8 December 2013


Candles, slow-burning lights made of tallow or wax and usually cylindrical with a fiber wick at the center, have been used since 3000 BC.

Putting candles on birthday cakes originated with the ancient Greeks. They made round cakes to honor Artemis, the goddess of the moon, which were often decorated with candles to represent the lunar glow.

In the 18th century domestic illumination was by candles (although, of course, oil lamps of a crude sort have been known since pre-Roman times). The gentry used beeswax candles; everyone else used tallow.

American colonists discovered that superior candles could be made from the fruit of a squat bush growing in the sand dunes along the New England seashore. The small, grayish bayberry was picked, crushed, and boiled. It had to be skimmed several times before the pale, nearly transparent, green fat was sufficiently refined. Bayberry candles were highly prized, because so much labor and so many berries were needed to make just one candle.

The phrase 'Not fit to hold the candle to him' meaning to be very inferior alludes to the lowly ‘link-boys’ who held candles at theatres.

In 1780 a Frenchman named Argand devised a much improved oil lamp . They were first adopted by the well-to-do, but soon spread to the middle classes and eventually the less well-off as well.  Jane Austen may have preferred the more domestic candle. In a letter from London, September 16, 1813 she wrote, “It is to be a quiet evening - my eyes are tired of dust and lamps.”

The wick of a trick candle has small amounts of magnesium in them. When you light the candle, you are also lighting the magnesium. When someone tries to blow out the flame, the magnesium inside the wick continues to burn and, in just a split second (or two or three), relights the wick.

A candle flame typically burns at around 1000 degrees Celsius.

You can see a candle flame from 30 miles away on a clear, dark night.

96% of all the candles sold in the US are bought by women.

In the US. 7 out of 10 homes use candles.

The most popular place to burn candles in the house is the living room.

A candle’s flame is round and blue in zero gravity.

Candle flames contain millions of tiny diamonds, as they contain all four known forms of carbon.

A burning candle creates 1.5 million tiny diamonds per second.

Candles will burn longer and drip less if they are placed in the freezer for a few hours before use.

The Hopi ear candle is used by Native American Indians for ear trouble. The candle is stuck in the ear and ignited and acts like a chimney sucking out impurities such as wax. It has been found to be useful for all ear problems ranging from tinnitus to glue ear.

Blowing out candles on birthday cakes results in roughly 3,000 bacteria capable of forming colonies on the cake.

The world record for the most candles ever put on a birthday cake is 72, 585. It was achieved by Americans Ashrita Furman and the Sri Chinmoy Centre at the Sri Chinmoy Centre in New York City, on August 27, 2016.

Placing a candle in the freezer a few hours before using it will have it burn longer and drip less.

Sources Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc,

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