All You Need to Know About Candles

At Sturbridge Yankee Workshop we have a wide selection of candle options to choose from. Everything from your typical container candles to battery operated LED candles. But how do you know which one is right for you? Let’s take a look at the different types of candles and their benefits below.

Potted Container Candles

In regards to the history of candles, we see an origin of one of the first candles in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians created a light source, which we now would refer to as a torch. They would dip bunches of reeds into extremely hot tallow (beef fat) and then dip them into fire. The Romans eventually expanded on this idea and created the wick candle that we are more familiar with today. Our Scented Jar Candle Collection, pictured  here to the left, represents what many of us have in our homes already. This collection, made right here in Maine, boasts a very clean burn with no blackening or residue formed on the jar. The impurities have been taken out of the paraffin, allowing a clean burn right to the end without sacrificing aroma.

Paraffin wax was developed in 1850 of oil and coal shells. Later, the combination of paraffin and stearic acid became the base for most potted candles throughout the end of the 19th century, leading into the 20th century and even still today. Another great potted candle at SYW is our Potted Rosemary Candle, featuring a refreshing herbal scent and is also made in the USA.

Pillar & Taper Candles

During the 19th century many experimented with the production of candles, as they were still a main source of lighting until the invention of the light bulb in 1879. It was discovered that sperm whale oil could be crystallized into a wax and was available in large quantities. Whale fat was also found to be used even earlier in China circa 221-206 BC. A pillar or a taper needs a strong wick in order to burn properly. Wicks of course are a string or cord that when lit, force the “fuel” up towards the flame and then hold the flame in place through a process called capillary action. An example of this is our  Mini Taper Ivory Candles, that are perfectly sized to burn for one evening and set a romantic mood.

Soy & Beeswax Candles

A newer trend for the environmentally cautious, is soy candles. Soy candles are made from soy wax which is hydrogenated from soy bean oil. One benefit of this type of candle is that it offers “clean burning,” not producing the black soot that paraffin often does. They are also indirectly supporting American farmers, as soy beans are grown in many of our fields and then later are biodegradable. Therefore, soy based candles are considered a smart and healthy option.

Many times, as with our Candle Baker seen here to the right, soy candles are also made with the infusion of beeswax; which allows for a longer burn time and adds to the aromas. Our candle baker will make a unique gift as it doubles as a 32oz baking dish, after the amazingly impressive 130 hours of burn time. It comes in your choice of apple strudel, cranberry amaretto or gingerbread pumpkin scent. Another made in the USA soy candle is the Farmhouse Jar Candle, that also can be reused when finished burning.

LED Candles

One more new trend in candles is LED candles, or battery operated candles. Many opt for this type of candle as it is does not prove to be a safety and fire hazard as regular candles could be. They are perfect to create ambiance and additional decor, while not having to worry about forgetting to blow them out. One lovely realistic candle that comes in a variety of sizes is our Everlasting Drip Pillar Candle.  They feature the look of real wax and have an enchanting, soft candle glow.

Candle Accessories

Now that you have your candles, you may like something to put them in. At Sturbridge, we have many options for you that will coordinate well in your country home. First is our Colonial Lanterns, featured here to the right. These unique and colonial inspired candle display lanterns can be used in or outdoors, as they are powder coated; protecting them from harmful outdoor elements. New for the holiday season, we have our Wheat Candle Holders. Delightful for the harvest season but can be used year round, these candle holders are designed as a tall bundle of wheat finished with an antique bronze.

You can’t forget your Candle Snuffer when going to bed for the evening. Candle snuffers like this one appropriately smother the flame to help prevent the “soot” from blowing around and staying in the air. Another helpful candle tool at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop is our stainless steel Wick Trimmer that works on all types of candles. To get the most fragrance and burn time out of your favorite candles, it is recommended that you keep the wick trimmed to 1/4″.

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