There are several advantages that beeswax candles have over ordinary paraffin wax candles, including producing far less toxicity due to the lack of smoke and having a longer burn time. Beeswax itself has been utilised for thousands of years for a wide variety of applications, and as a natural polymer it is actually one of the first plastics ever to be used by humans along with the likes of tortoiseshell, horn from animal antlers and the latex resin from a particular family of trees from the genus Palaquium. Beeswax is particularly malleable though and thus is ideal for inclusion in the ingredients of a candle.
The beeswax is originally created by worker bees that secrete it from special glands on their abdomens to form the honeycomb cells within which they house their young and store honey and pollen. The bees must consume a lot more honey in order to create it (about eight times as much) and it is thought that over the course of producing just 1lb of beeswax, a bee will have flown the equivalent of approximately six times around the earth (150,000 miles). So when you’re burning a beeswax candle, rest assured you are using a product that a hell of a lot of hard work has gone into, and that’s just before we humans get our hands on it.
Another benefit of using beeswax is that it doesn’t decompose or go off. Even ancient beeswax can be reused by heating it and reshaping it, not that the beeswax found in ancient Egyptian tombs was recycled like this, as its importance as a historical record dictates that it remains as found. Beeswax has also been discovered on wrecked Viking ships as well as in the archaeological dig sites of Roman ruins, though one of the oldest uses of beeswax dates back even further to over five thousand years ago, when it was used in the process of lost-wax casting, where you cover an object in the wax and let it set, creating a mould by which the sculptor can then create multiple copies of the original object.
Another well-known ancient use of beeswax was in the creation of wax tablets which were portable writing surfaces which could be recycled and reused over and over again. Other historical uses include strengthening sewing thread, an ingredient in sealing wax and also as a component in the manufacture of long bows. Later, more militaristic uses were found for beeswax as it was used as a lubricant for bullets in cap and ball firearms and there are also some explosive materials in which beeswax was used to stabilise the material, before eventually being replaced by more efficient substances such as petroleum-based ingredients. Beeswax is also known to have been used as an ancient type of dental filling.
More Amazing Uses for Beeswax
Artistically, beeswax has had many uses as well, with perhaps its most famous use being in the creation of encaustic hot wax paintings. The process involves heating beeswax and then adding colour pigments before the wax is painted onto a canvas or wood surface. The Egyptians used this method for their Fayum mummy portraits of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, though the method remained popular throughout the centuries that followed. The 20th century saw artists such as Fritz Faiss revitalise the process as an art form and since his death in 1981, the encaustic painting technique has grown increasingly popular with more and more artists innovating new ways of utilising beeswax using tools such as electric irons and hotplates.
The Javanese culture of Indonesia often uses beeswax when making Batik, which is a cloth made via a traditional wax-resistant dyeing method. The designs of Batik are very important as only people of nobility are allowed to wear certain colours and patterns. During traditional Javanese events and occasions, it is said to be possible to identify the lineage of all nobility by the Batik cloth they are adorned in.
In the modern Western world, you’ll find beeswax as a common ingredient in a lot of cosmetic products as well as its increasing popularity as a candle ingredient. Its popularity is justified due to the fact that a 100% pure beeswax candle like these Price’s Beeswax Pillar Candles burn completely clean and pure, producing no smoke or soot which is an unfortunate by-product of regular paraffin candles. The unbleached beeswax actually acts as an air deodoriser removing unpleasant odours from the atmosphere of the room it’s burned in. The flames of beeswax candles are also renowned for being clean and bright, which altogether makes them one of the best choices you can make when you buy candles online.