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Tallow Chandlers and Candlemakers

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Tallow Chandlers and Candlemakers

A candlemaker is a person who makes or sells candles.

A chandler is a maker (and seller) of candles and soap and oils and paints

A Tallow Chandler is specifically a person who makes and sells candles.

Historically candles were mostly made from tallow, a form of animal fat that provided an inexpensive way for people to light their homes at night.

Tallow is rendered animal fat, most often from beef or mutton. It's similar to suet or lard, other forms of animal fat, and has been useful in various ways through the years because it doesn't go bad at room temperature, stays solid, and is cheap. Today it's most commonly used for soap making or animal feed, though it can also be used in making biodiesel fuel.


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Accounts of candle use date back to ancient times, with Biblical references as early as the tenth century BC. The earliest known example of a candle—just a fragment— from the first century AD was found in Avignon, France.

Candles were made by the Romans from about 500 BC. These were dipped candles made from tallow. Evidence for candles made from whale fat in China, dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC). In India, wax from boiling cinnamon was used for temple candles.

In parts of Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, where lamp oil made from olives was readily available, candle making remained unknown until the early middle-ages. Candles were primarily made from tallow and beeswax in ancient times, but have been made from spermaceti, purified animal fats (stearin) and paraffin wax in recent centuries.

By the 19th Century the first patented candle-making machine was invented. Braided wick was introduced in 1825. It was tightly plaited and when burned was completely consumed. Previous to this time wick had been made by twisting strands of cotton, which burned poorly. Manufactured paraffin was introduced in 1850, which provided a cheaper alternative to tallow. The light bulb was introduced in 1879, which led to the decline of candle-making


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Candle-makers of Note

  • William Procter (December 7, 1801 – April 4, 1884) was an English-born American candlemaker and industrialist, who emigrated to the USA. He was the founder and co-eponym of Procter & Gamble Company in 1837, along with James Gamble. Wiki


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