History of Candle Making

History of Candle Making petals and wicks hamilton

There has always been a need for light to see by at night. In prehistoric times, fire was the only source of light to see at night. However, the need and desire arose for something more portable, smaller, and more useful so that light could be transported. There were torches that allowed people to transport fire, but these still were limited.

Petals & Wicks is a candle bar in Hamilton, Ohio. Our scent bar allows you to pour your own candles with friends, families, and co-workers, creating memories and a great candle to take home. We also sell our own handmade candles and bath and body products, too. Below, we’ll take a brief look at the history of candle making. Visit us online today!


The ancient Egyptians invented torches, which were reeds soaked in animal fat, but these did not have a wick, which is a distinguishing characteristic of candles. Historians have found evidence that the ancient Chinese and Japanese had an early form of candles. The culture of ancient India is credited with creating the first scented candle since they used cinnamon and yak butter.

However, the Romans are given the credit for the invention of the tallow candle sometime around 500 BC. They used a piece of twine covered in tallow wax, which is made from the meat of animals. At this time, olive oil was the more popular form for artificial light as this was used in portable lamps. It wasn’t until the fall of the Roman Empire and olive oil became scarce that the candle making business truly got underway.


The church fueled the development and use of the candle. Medieval cathedrals were dark places so they needed some way to see. Candles were used extensively in all forms of worship, especially on holy days and other special occasions. Beeswax began to be used in candle making, which was much cleaner and did not produce as much smoke. It also smelled a lot better than tallow. However, beeswax was hard to come by, so only the church could afford to use them. Thus, tallow candles remained the norm. During the era of the guilds, candle making began in earnest with its own guild, and candle makers would travel from house to house making candles for people who would save the fat from animals they slaughtered.


American colonists discovered that you could boil bayberries and make a sweet-smelling candle wax. However, this took a lot of time that many colonists just didn’t have. Thus, when the whaling industry took off, whale oil began to be used to make wax that burned brightly in candles. This type of wax was very sturdy, too.

Stearin wax was developed in the 1820s, which offered a hard and durable candle that burned cleanly. In 1834, candle making entered new heights when Joseph Morgan invented a candle molding process that was able to mass produce candles. This lowered their price, making them affordable for most.

Paraffin wax, a popular candle ingredient used today, was discovered in the 1850s when chemists learned how to separate it from petroleum. Paraffin wax burns cleanly and soon becomes very popular.


Edison effectively stalled the candle making industry with his electric lightbulb invented in 1879. For almost 100 years, no one owned or used candles except as backup for power outages. Then in the 1980s, candles began to be marketed as decorative items, gifts, and as ways to scent the air. This worked, and candles became popular once again. Soon, soy candles were invented, which are softer and slower-burning, and palm wax candles are growing in popularity as well.


Candles today enjoy great popularity — and for good reason. They bring joy to those who burn them for their wonderful scents, during life’s great celebrations and ceremonies, and to kindle romance. They offer health benefits, such as helping relieve stress and aiding in sleep. Plus, candles make great decor. They can be made in any shape, size, and color, making them perfect accents to personalize your home and office space.

Petals & Wicks is a candle bar in Hamilton. We offer you the opportunity to create your own scented candles at our scent bars. You can book our Party Bar as well, which allows you to celebrate special occasions, such as a birthday or a team building exercise, with your friends, family, and co-workers together. You’ll love the memories you create, the time spent together, and your own special handmade candle. We also have a wide selection of soy wax candles for purchase, as well as our great bath and body products.

If you are in Hamilton visiting or you are a resident looking for a fun family time, visit us, or shop our candles online today!