Candles, the Secret Illuminators of History

Dave  •  Candle History  •  

how candles were used in history

If we could interview Candles, what would they tell us?

If you think about it, candles have been key in the making of history. For the centuries before electricity and the light bulb were invented, oils and oil and wax-based candles have lit the world for some of the greatest people’s and events. Without that light piercing the darkness, who knows how different world history would be.

Take yourself back to Homer’s desk, where he wrote the Iliad, and The Odyssey. Can you see him hunched over, his pen scratching away on the animal skins in the dark?

Think about the sailors in 280 BC, lost and worried, yet finally able to see their way thanks to the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the world. What kind of immense oil lamp was that? Can you feel the heat coming off it, as you light it each night?

We know that Rome was spectacular in its inventions and technologies, and movies do a great job showing off the lit hallways and porches of the estates built by the Emperors of Rome.

Imagine the giant and beautiful menorah that was in the Holy of Holies in Biblical times. The amount of light it put out is hard to even fathom. Of course, today, menorahs and hannukias adorn temples and homes all over the world.

And talk about big! What about the 127-foot (39 m) wax candle that was featured at the General Art and Industrial Exhibition of Stockholm in 1897?

A Panel in the Sistine Chapel, the Separation of Light and Darkness, painted with genius by Michelangelo, shows constancy in this idea of the need for light in a dark world. In fact, the painter himself had a boy that held a candle to light his work for hours at a time.

And how would American History have been changed, if Paul Revere hadn’t seen the lantern in the church steeple or if candles hadn’t lit the nights of debate and planning of a new Republic, which led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence?

Some people say the walls have ears, but candles, indeed, have been present at the most momentous, and private occasions, and if we could interview them, what would they tell us?

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