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Candle Information and Tips
11/1999

National Candle Assn. Home Page

http://www.candles.org/


Candle Information:

What is a candle?

What is a candle? A candle is a device for providing light or dispersing fragrance.

The body of a candle is comprised of a solid fuel source, usually paraffin wax. A wick runs through the center of the body of the candle from the bottom, extending out of the top. The wick, which acts as a fuel pump when the candle is burning, is generally made of cotton fibers that have been braided together.

Soot stained stone dishes found in ancient caves in France show that stone-age man used a crude candle/lamp to light the cave walls as he painted upon them. The saucer shaped stone appears to have held a piece of animal fat that could be set afire to give off light.

Ancient Egyptians were known to drip beeswax or tallow onto rush stems. They would set flame to the tip of these "Rush Lights" to provide them with light.

Today, we do not rely so much on candles for lighting our homes, except in the event of a power outage. Candles are now used for decorative or religious purposes, to create a mood with their hypnotic glow, their soothing fragrances please our sense of smell, and they often represent symbols of our personal faiths.

A candle is the light, the body, the soul of our modern imaginations.

You can obtain candles in a variety of styles. The main types of candle are as follows.

Taper
Formal
Pillar
Column
Container
Votive


FLAME, glowing body of mixed gases undergoing the process of combustion . Flames generally consist of a mixture of oxygen (or air) and another gas, usually such combustible substances as hydrogen, carbon monoxide, or hydrocarbon. A typical flame is that of a burning candle. When the candle is lighted, the heat of the match melts the wax, which is carried up the wick and then vaporized by the heat. The vaporized wax is then broken down by the heat and, finally, combines with the oxygen of the surrounding air, producing a flame and generating heat and light. The candle flame consists of three zones that are easily distinguished. The innermost zone, a nonluminous cone, is composed of a gas-air mixture at a comparatively low temperature. In the second, or luminous, cone, hydrogen and carbon monoxide are produced by decomposition and begin to react with oxygen to form water and carbon dioxide, respectively. In this cone the temperature of the flame-about 590 to 680 C (about 1090 to 1250 F)-is great enough to dissociate the gases in the flame and produce free particles of carbon, which are heated to incandescence and then consumed. The incandescent carbon produces the characteristic yellow light of this portion of the flame. Outside the luminous cone is a third, invisible cone in which the remaining carbon monoxide and hydrogen are finally consumed.

If a cold object is introduced into the outer portions of a flame, the temperature of that part of the flame will be lowered below the point of combustion, and unburned carbon and carbon monoxide will be given off. Thus, if a porcelain dish is passed through a candle flame, it will receive a deposit of carbon in the form of soot. Operation of any kind of flame-producing stove in a room that is unventilated is dangerous because of the production of carbon monoxide, which is poisonous.

All combustible substances require a definite proportion of oxygen for complete burning. (A flame can be sustained in an atmosphere of pure chlorine, although combustion is not complete.) In the burning of a candle, or of solids such as wood or coal, this oxygen is supplied by the surrounding atmosphere. In blowpipes and various types of gas burners, air or pure oxygen is mixed with the gas at the base of the burner so that the carbon is consumed almost instantaneously at the mouth of the burner. For this reason such flames are nonluminous. They also occupy a smaller volume and are proportionately hotter than a simple candle flame. The hottest portion of the flame of a Bunsen burner has a temperature of about 1600 C (about 2910 F). The hottest portion of the oxygen-acetylene flames used for welding metals reaches 3500 C (6330 F); such flames have a bluish-green cone in place of the luminous cone. If the oxygen supply is reduced, such flames have four cones: nonluminous, bluish-green, luminous, and invisible.

The blue-green cone of any flame is often called the reducing cone, because it is insufficiently supplied with oxygen and will take up oxygen from substances placed within it. Similarly, the outermost cone, which has an excess of oxygen, is called the oxidizing cone. Intensive studies of the molecular processes taking place in various regions of flames are now possible through the techniques of laser spectroscopy.


Candle Tip #1:

Always protect the surface the candle rests on by placing the candle on a non- flammable holder to prevent either color or fragrance from bleeding into the surface. Brass candle holders can be especially sensitive to dark candle colors bleeding into their surface.

Candle Tip #2:

Place the candle in an area free from drafts. The first time you light the candle, allow it to burn until the liquid wax covers the entire top of the candle. This breaking in process insures that it will perform better and more evenly throughout the life of the candle. For pillars, plan on burning 5-6 hours on the initial lighting. With subsequent use, the candle should remain lit for a minimum of 3 to 4 hours each time. This will insure a clean and efficient burning cycle for the life of the candle.

Candle Tip #3:

To extinguish a candle, dip the wick into the liquid wax, using a non-flammable instrument. This little known technique eliminates smoking.

Candle Tip #4:

The wick is designed to produce a small black carbon cap at the top of the wick as it burns. This is normal as it helps radiate heat to the edge of the candle. You should not trim the wick nor touch it while it is cold! After extinguishing the flame, it is best to remove carbon deposits or other foreign materials from the liquid wax when possible.

Candle Tip #5:

Should your candle burn unevenly due to a draft consider this. Carefully push the wick towards the higher side. If this causes dripping, extinguish the flame, let it cool for an hour, then relight the candle. Repeat this practice a few times and the candle will repair itself.

Candle Tip #6:

To regain the color and luster of the non textured candle, simply buff with a soft cotton cloth or an old nylon to remove dust and small scratches like magic. This process revitalizes the candle's sheen. The heat from the candle burning tends to dull the finish but it can easily be regained with this simple maintenance tip.

Candle Tip #7:

Votive burning is fun, however the clean up of the dish is frustrating and time consuming. Eliminate this aggravation. Simply place four drops of tap water in the base of the votive dish prior to lighting. Once the votive candle is extinguished, allow the wax to solidify. Once solid, gently push on the wax and the contents should pop loose. Apply a small amount of Wax and Spot Remover, found on our Candle Accessories page, to eliminate the soot and wax buildup on the side of votive dish.

Candle Tip #8:

Floating candles can provide both a formal and informal setting for either a dinner party or a back yard picnic. Floating candles in a clear bowl creates an extra special lighting effect. Using distilled water eliminates mineral buildup on the side of crystal or glass, preserving its unique presentation of floating candles.

Candle Tip #9:

Translucent candles are most enjoyed after hours of burning. Their most impressive burns can be preserved by simply burning a small tea light in the base of the hollow for continued enjoyment of all translucent candles. Tea lights can be found on our Candle Accessories page, and you'll find lots of translucent candles on our Translucent Candles page.

Candle Tip #10:

Dinner candles, called Tapers, accidentally bumped can cause wax to be dripped on your table or table cloth. Decorative Bobeches come in many styles, colors and forms and eliminate unnecessary spills on your precious table or tablecloth. Bobeches are sold in the Candle Accessories section of the product catalog, and you'll find tapers on our Tapers page.

Candle Tip #11:

Wax removal can be simple with "Wax and Spot Remover" offered on the Candle Accessories page. This special product can remove stains and wax from cloth, wood, metal, plastic coated and painted surfaces. This special product turns disasters into simple distractions.

Candle Tip #12:

Many times the candle that is just perfect has a stem too large for its candle holder. Candle Sharpeners have eliminated most of this problem but many times it still needs some fine adjustment. Set the stem of the candle in a half inch of hot tap water (this softens the wax on the outside of the candle). Push the candle into the holder gently. The stem will custom fit to the candle holder. Repeat as necessary for a secure fit. Candle Sharpeners are sold in candle shops.

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Candle-burning Tips

http://candles.wspout.com/tips.html


 


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