Candle Making History

Here’s some astonishing facts about candle making history.

Ben Franklin discovered electricity in 1752 and as recently as 1879 Thomas Edison invented the light bulb and got a patent for it in 1880. It took off shortly after it was invented and by 1905 they were in common use world wide. In the entire history that man has been walking the planet that is only a little more then a hundred years ago. Only a few years prior to the light bulb, but still in the 1800s streets were lit up at night with street lamps using gas.

But before the 1800s and going way back in human history illuminating the night was very ineffective. There were candles, torches and oil lamps and oil lamps weren’t the greatest thing for indoor use as it left a residue of soot on everything. Not very nice. So candles were the usual way of lighting up the indoors which was fairly ineffective.

Did it really change the world going from candles to light bulbs and if so; how many light bulbs did it take to change the world (HA). I can’t tell you how many light bulbs it took but yes they dramatically changed the world and made it what it is today.

Prior to the brighter lights of gas and electricity factories were closing down when it got dark. And in the winter time that left only a few short hours of production. With the brighter light factories were now able to stay open as long as they wanted, even 24 hours which put factory production through the roof. The brighter light took the limits off of production. And further with brighter lighting at home it was much easier for people to read so they read longer (remember TV and radio weren’t around in the olden days (not long ago actually) so people passed the time by reading; with candle light). Increased reading led to more literacy and more learning which then led to an industrial revolution. So the increase in light dramatically changed the world.

Going back to Ben Franklin, he was one of the writers and signers of the Declaration of Independence. The adoption of this Declaration on July 4th, 1776 is the birth of the United States of America and July 4th is celebrated every year as Independence Day. Do you realize our Declaration, which was only written in the 1700s was before the light bulb and it must have been partially written by candle light, at least any writing that was done in the evening. And our Congress that adopted the Declaration must have used candles to see with. All these important congress men gathered together discussing important issues concerning the country using candles. It seems unthinkable now. Congress uses light today but they just throw a switch without that their chamber would be dark even in the day time. It sort of makes you realize what a huge day to day challenge a simple thing like lighting was only a few short years ago (in terms of human history) and how we just take lighting so for granted these days.

And little did Ben Franklin know that his discovery of electricity would soon be used to light up the whole world. It’s also ironic that Ben Franklin also invented the street lamp. It just took a little time for his electricity to be hooked up to his street lamp to light up the world. Wow isn’t that something? Hey thanks for the light Ben.

This article started out on candle making history but it really didn’t stray from the subject. The transition from candles to electric lights is a significant turning point in candle making history certainly worthy of one small article on the subject.


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