Help needed with 14th century candle making

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elastic
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Help needed with 14th century candle making

Post by elastic »

Can anyone point me in the direction of information on candle making in the 14th century? I am interested to know what meterials and methods would have been used, but am also interested in what modern materials would be acceptable substitutes, as well as sources for materials. Thanks in anticipation, Louise :roll:

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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

casting and dipping, depending on how big the candles were going to be.

Smaller ones were dipped larger ones cast, ie the molten wax poured over the string in layers, at both ends. Not cast as in moulded in a mould, but cast as in 'thrown', (which is where the casting we know well gets its term from as well).
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

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jelayemprins
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candles

Post by jelayemprins »

Tallow!

Lets have more burning animal fats please....

:P
'making history happen'
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Brother Ranulf
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Post by Brother Ranulf »

Jelly,

I bought a couple of tallow candles for use this season and they smell appalling, even sealed in a poly-bag. I suspect that when the weather gets above 10 degrees they will start to melt into an amorphous lump; when our daughter brings her normally placid dog to visit he goes berserk trying to get at the stuff. Authentic, but stinky.
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

elastic
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Location: Blackwood, Gwent

Post by elastic »

I was planning to make dipped candles, and am aware of some of the background. I know that wealthier folk would have used bees wax, although this was and probably still is expensive. I am also aware that poorer folk would have used tallow, but am equally aware of the drawbacks of this (as already mentioned!)

I was wondering what is the best way forward for demonstrating the process, if i have some bees wax and tallow candles also made up to show. Of course, I would need to explain to people what the difference is between medieval materials and modern ones, and why I am not using truly authentic materials. do you have any sugestions?

Louise

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Grymm
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Post by Grymm »

Rush lights,fat lamps (cressity type things) and oil lamps(fish/whale, animal and veg oil) tend to be more common than candles for the lower orders in the muddievil period as you can make your own from kitchen 'waste' and if you rend your fat and filter it it don't smell quite so bad.
Futuaris nisi irrisus ridebis.

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gregory23b
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Post by gregory23b »

tallow was, at times, weight for weight, dearer than the meat from the animal they came from.

Poorer folk would not even use candles, dips in fat or oil - rush lighting.

"and why I am not using truly authentic materials."

why would you not be? you can get cotton for wicks, there is IIRC some evidence for a candle dipper, you can get tallow and wax, so why is not going to be as accurate as possible?

I would start from the basis of:

What do I need to accurately represent candle making in the late middle ages?

Questions that then arise from that:

What kind of beeswax? there are many sorts of differing qualities, not all were used for the same things, we as modern day users of beeswax have a poor comprehension of it.

How was the wick made?

How was wax whitened?

Social implications of candles, as you say, make comparisons between rich and poor, price ranges, what if there was no wax/tallow?

I think you would be surprised at how much kit is out there.

There are apiarist clubs all over the UK, many of whom have a deep interest in all things wax, some are into the history of the use of wax.
middle english dictionary

Isabela on G23b "...somehow more approachable in real life"

http://medievalcolours.blogspot.com

"I know my place." Alice the Huswyf

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