Scented candles are the universally accepted gift for almost every occasion. They keep us feeling warm and cozy in the winter, and they can even promote a fresh and clean atmosphere in the summer. We know their role now, but have you ever wondered who created the first scented candle, why they did it, and how scented candles have changed throughout the years? If so, we've got the resource for you- a little scented candle 101!
When were scented candles invented?
The Egyptians are credited with crafting some of the first wicked candles as far back as 3,000 B.C., using waxes created from plants and insects. However, scented candles weren’t used until the Middle Ages, when beeswax candles were brought to Europe. The beeswax burned pure and cleanly (it didn’t create a smoky flame), and it produced an enjoyable, sweet aroma rather than the unpleasant odor of tallow, which was widely used in household candles at the time. Due to the prohibitive cost of beeswax in the Middle Ages, few people other than the wealthy could afford to burn them at home. There was a brief stint in colonial America when women used bayberries to create a sweet-smelling wax, but the process was very tedious. So, scented candles didn’t end up taking off until the mid-19th century when advancements had been made in wax and mechanization of candle production. [National Candle Association]
To learn more about the history of candles, click here.
How does a scented candle work?
When you light the wick of a scented candle, the heat from the flame begins to melt the wax. When the fragrance molecules in the wax are heated, they emit an aroma. The scent grows stronger as more of the wax melts, so the larger your candle, the greater the fragrance you can expect once its wax pool extends to the edges of its vessel. The best way to make sure your candle melts evenly is to confirm that the wick is in the center of the candle, the candle is on a level surface, and the candle is out of the way of drafts.