My friends KJ, Jamie, and Brit sent me some handcrafted, scented candles a few weeks ago. My house has been bathed in a warm glow ever since.
The sweet gift got me thinking about chandlers of the past. Candles weren’t always the cozy delights we know and love today.
Instead, they were a necessity for warmth and light. These early candles were made of lard or tallow and put off noxious fumes.
Chandleries existed in towns and cities near tanneries and slaughterhouses. But in rural areas, wives took on the burden of producing the candles their family needed during the colder seasons.
It was these very women who made America’s first contribution to candlemaking. Colonial women created the first scented candles after discovering bayberry bush berries render a sweet-smelling wax.
The wax was hard to produce and eventually lost favor. Over the following decades, various types of wax candles rose and fell in popularity until electricity replaced them altogether.
We feel so far removed from those days of homemade candles, but the truth is that history is a lot closer than we think. Parts of North Carolina didn’t have electricity until the 1940s. In those areas, candlemaking remained a necessity for our parents and grandparents.
Still, there is no denying that the way we use candles is far removed from their utilitarian purpose. Nowadays, candles are used to give our homes delectable aromas and a bit of ambiance.
Rather than rendering wax from animal fats, today, chandlers are artisans who specialize in creating clean wax blends and crafting unique perfumes that ignite the senses.
That is what my friends from Old Groundhog Co. are: North Carolina artisans. Their wood wick candles are made from American-grown soy blend wax, scented with phthalate-free perfume oils, and burn longer than 20 hours.
We have teamed up to host an Instagram giveaway. For a chance to win, please check my latest Instagram post for details and rules. The giveaway ends on Monday, October 3.
In the meantime, check out the Old Groundhog Co. website for artisan-crafted candles.