What is a candle wick made of?

A candle wick is usually made of braided cotton which sometimes includes thin thread as reinforcement. The wick is the part that is lit in a candle or in a lamp and the fuel moves by capillarity along the wick to the flame to keep a flame alive. Fuel can include liquid fuel in a lamp, candle wax that has melted or spirit, which when combined with oxygen will burn to form a flame. A candle consists of a wick deposited in wax or a flammable substance, and usually has several purposes; it can be used to provide light, for the fragrance and also for occasions such as birthdays, candlelight dinners and memorials.

History of candles

The word candle comes from the central English word candel which means to shine. Before the introduction of candles, oil lamps with wicks were used. The immersed candles were developed by the Romans around 500 BCE, although the first surviving candles date back to 200 BCE from the Han dynasty in China. In the Middle Ages, candle making had become a specialized trade. Beeswax candles were commonly used in church ceremonies while burning the cleanest. They were too expensive for most of the company that burned tallow candles instead. Joseph Morgan patented the first machine to begin mass production of candles in 1834; this changed the candle industry and made candles accessible.

Features of a wick

The characteristics of a wick like; stiffness, diameter, binding and fire resistance will affect the way a flame burns. A wick can include a thin wire, mostly copper, the wire makes the wick stand still, and also acts as a conductor that conducts heat downwards which causes the wax to melt easily. Synthetic fibers and paper can also be used to stiffen a wick. Lead has been used before, but has been banned in the United States and other countries due to the risk of lead poisoning. Flat braided wicks are made to be self-consumed. They curl up in the flame while they burn. Wicks are usually pre-treated with flame-resistant solutions, such as salt and borax, to prevent them from being destroyed by fire.

Different types of candles

Larger diameter wicks produce larger flames that result in a candle that melts faster. In candles that are enclosed in cups, also known as tea lights, the wick is tied to a piece of metal. The wax in tea lights can melt completely, and the purpose of the metal is to prevent the wick from floating on the wax and burning before the wax. There are also candles specially made to float on water. These candles have a lace to hold the wick in place and a bottom seal to prevent the wick from filtering water. Some birthday candles have a short stump for a wick, and this makes them burn faster. Different materials other than cotton and cord can be used to make wicks even if this is rare.

Importance of candle wicks

Candle makers believe that the wick, apart from the color, shape or fragrance, is the essential part of a candle. The braided and knitted wicks are high quality and burn longer than braided wicks. The wicks can be divided into four; square wicks, flat wicks, special wicks and animated wicks. Choosing the right wick for a candle is essential to ensure that the candle burns properly and safely.

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