History of Soy Candles

A Brief History of Candles

No one can say for certain when the first candle was invented. It is known that ancient Egyptians used torches that were similar to a candle (without the wick.) Rather, it is the Romans who are credited with lighting the night with wicked candles.

It was not until the middle ages that beeswax candles were first introduced, which were a welcomed alternative to the rancid-smelling candles made by the Romans. The only problem? The beeswax candles were expensive to produce, thus leaving the populace seeking yet a cheaper effective alternative.

Fast forward to the industrial revolution.

In 1834, Joseph Morgan introduced an automated piece of equipment that created pillar candles. The machine “ejected” the candles as they solidified.

In the 1850‘s, paraffin wax was invented. A by-product from petroleum, paraffin wax, combined with mass production, finally made candles affordable and cleaner burning.

With the invention of the light bulb, the demand for candles decreased (as a utility product,) however, a resurgence in its popularity has gained strength through-out the 20th century, as the candle has become a symbol of celebration and for creating moods, as well as for adding fragrance to the home.

The Soy Wax Candle.

Soy wax is a fairly new type of candle wax. It was invented in 1991 by Michael Richards, who was looking for a cheaper alternative to beeswax. There was demand for natural wax products, but bees wax was an incredibly expensive alternative. By 1996, as he experimented with different types of vegetable waxes, he finally discovered a method of using soy beans to produce an affordable, natural wax product.

The Body Shop was the first national chain store to offer soy candles for sale.

Several studies have been conducted on the benefits of soy wax, and The Indiana Soybean Board patented a special soy wax product, Harvest Lights, in 1998. Cargill purchased Michael’s patent in 2001 and now controls production of soy wax used by various soy candle producers.

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