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Candles versus Oil Lamps | Candles Vs Oil Lamps - Indianshelf.in

Candles and oil lamps have both been in use for ages to illuminate homes and dwelling grounds. Today we will cover the history of both, discover the different varieties of candles and oil lamps that sell today and also find the difference between both the items.

Oil lamps

Oil lamps, as the name indicates, use oil as a fuel to produce light. The effect is awesome and electrifying! There is a rich long history behind the use of oil lamps. Today, the oil lamps may not be quite regularly used but when they are – during festivities or power-cuts – the bright illuminated light is enough to fill you with joy and amazement for a long time to come. There are candles too that get used as an alternative to electric lights during events and outages, but the rich royal past of the oil lamps and many other features make them a better choice vis-a-vis wax-made candles.

Going down the lane to revisit the past of oil lamps

The first known oil lamps were used in the Chalcolithic Age – these lamps were made pottery-made and roundish in shape. 

  • Oil lamps arrived full-fledged on the scene some 4,500 years back – the first discovered proof was in ancient Mesopotamia – the lamps were lighted using olive oil. Much later, it was sesame oil that started being used in this region for lighting the lamps.
  • In some parts of Northern Europe, it was fish and whale oil that served as fuel for the lamps. 
  • In some other parts of the world, the earliest form of oil lamps was made from shells of eggs and coconuts; or even seashells. The oil would be animal fats. 

Before the advent of electricity, it was the oil lamps that served as the source of light for umpteen numbers centuries.

Transition in design and shapes from then to now

The creative talent of man gets showcased amply with the different designs of oil lamps that were made and used through different periods and centuries. The earliest known designs were rounded shaped lamps that transitioned into oil lamps made from coconut shells or eggshells. Much later, stones were carved to make saucer-shaped lamps, which eventually led to the innovation of the nozzle that got added to the oil lamp to offer the wick a stable standing ground.

Centuries later it was the genie lamps with the closed base and sprout oil lamps that were popularly used in homes. To prevent the flame from dying down due to wind, gave rise to the discovery of the chimney that was usually made of glass and helped cover the flame. These were the ones that were similar to what we get to buy for our homes today.

Oil lamps that help enhance the decor of the indoors

Clay lamps - The saucer-shaped lamps have been in use since the Bronze Age. Today, different variants of the same are seen being used during festivals in India – especially Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Metallic lamps are intricately designed and showcase the craftsmanship of metalworking techniques.

Some of the oil lamp varieties that are very popular in India today include – brass made peacock Diya lamps, handmade flower-shaped brass oil lamps, Akhanad Brass oil diyas, Swastika oil lamp, square-shaped carved brass oil lamp, heart-shaped brass oil lamp, lotus oil lamp, Thooku Vilakku, Gajalakshmi Vilakku Oil Lamp, and the Nilavilakku Oil lamp are all different varieties of oil diyas and lamps. These oil lamps are used primarily in the deity room or the prayer room in Indian households and also grace festive and pious occasions.

Candles - 

A candle is made of wax and has a wick that when lighted melts the wax and spreads light around. Before candles made an entry into the illumination space, people used oil lamps as a source of light.

A sneak into the past - 

The ancient candles were made from fallow – these were very common in the Middle Ages. The other materials used to make candles back then were natural fat, and also wax.

Beeswax candles followed much later and immediately became a hit because it had clearer and cleaner smoke. However, these were expensive and only the rich could afford. It was only in the 19th century that mass production of candles begun. This was the time when paraffin wax was introduced. Later on, with the launch of kerosene lamps, the popularity of candles went down.

Designs and transitions in candles from then to now - 

Today, we get to buy different types of candles, designed to enhance the look and feel of the place. Some of the common types of candles that you can easily afford and buy today include – votive candles where the wax is placed in a glass container of different shapes; pillar candles are long and bulky, round or square, and are designed exotically to lend a spectacular look to the place; taper candles are the conventional candle that most homes keep handy to burn during outages. In the last few years, there has been a revolution in the candle industry – ever since the scented candles have made way into our living rooms and bedrooms. And, finally, the creatively designed décor candles that have hit the market in recent times are made with attractive and colourful designs to notch-up the glamour of our homes and workplaces. 

With ongoing innovations and researches, some additions are being made in the gamut of candles – there are soy and vegan candles, the smokeless, and sustainable candles that are now available for customers to buy and add warmth to their place.

Comparing oil lamps with candles - 

Both are ubiquitous and both the types look extremely attractive gracing the indoors. Be it the oil lamps or the candles, you can create a soul-stirring ambiance at home using either of these items. However, there are certain advantages of the oil lamp over the candles that you might want to compare when picking one or the other.

Costs - Using an oil lamp can work out cheaper than candles, depending upon the oil; that you use as the fuel.

Reusability – Candles as we all know are meant for one-time use. The wax melts till the candle finally diminishes to nothing. Oil lamps usually stick by for a longer period some varieties are so robust that they can be passed on from one generation to another.

Cleaning – You need to spend time cleaning both. While with the candle, it is the wax removal process from the tables, floors, or any other surface; oil lamps need cleaning of the oil container, the wicks, the chimney, and other parts to maintain the item.

Waste – Wax dropping and the residue is a waste from a candle, while in most oil lamps the process of burning of the fuel is such that even the last drop of oil is burnt effectively.

Designs - Be it candles or oil lamps, there are different designs of both.

Technical features – The flame in the case of oil lamps can be controlled by man. In the case of a candle, you cannot do so. Also, the flame of the oil lamps is at a constant height; with candles, the flame height moves down as it burns out.

Risks – Due to the flame, there are fire risks with both of these items though oil lamps being covered are safer than candles.

Frequently asked questions

Question 1 - Why candles are expensive?

Answer - For most of the luxury companies, the selection of the appropriate candle raw material starts with the quality of the scents used. While perfumes are still loaded with oils that smell good, yet the right candle is a careful concoction of oils that in turn smells awesome. This raises the prices of the candles. Similarly, certain essential oils can create black smoke and kill the flame, and this may not work the best for you. Also, if the amount of oils that go inside the candle is higher than the actual fragrance then the perceived value of the same is lot lower than the actual fragrance. Moreover, the quality of additives used to design the candle is vital and the same can cause the price of the same to plummet up. In case of candles like coconut ones, the price is higher due to the quality of raw material used.


Question 2 - Why candles on birthday cake?

Answer - As per the ancient Greek tradition, putting on candles on a cake is a special way to pay tribute to their Goddess - Artemis. The cake was thought to represent the moon and as a result, lighting candle means that such people believed that these candles carry their smoke and best wishes or prayers directly to the Goddess who lives in the skies. Similarly, these candles carry a specific power that is believed to bring a respite from the evil spirit that visited the people during their birthdays. As a result, these protected the birthday guy against evil and partygoers thus try to make them merry. The laughter and sound of such partygoers is believed to scare away the spirits. So, how many candles are okay on a cake? The same can be dependent on the age of the person and if you are beyond a certain age group, it is best to opt for single candle.


Question 3 - Why candles are good?

Answer - Although all forms of branded and recognized candle makers give due care to the fact that they produce the best candles. These candles are scientifically proven to be gentle and mesmerizing in quality. These can be the ideal addition to any form of relaxation routine It is also observed that the flame of the candle that helps to soothe the soul and reduce stress and this helps to boost the self-awareness. This takes us into the meditative state. As a result, you can attain the best outcomes that brings the adequate benefits for you. It is believed that the low light that comes along with a candle is captured using the sight is then sent to the brain. The same helps the body to relax and enjoy emotionally and physically for a long time. Some of the major perks of reaching the state means that you feel more relaxed, sleep better and achieve pleasant outcomes along with better immunity.


Question 4 - Which candles smell the strongest?

Answer - It is observed that the natural candles can smell the best. Hence, blending different grades of wax types together will surely change the outcomes. In certain cases, using the right fragrance van leave your room feeling calm and relaxed. Although, the room temperature can affect the outcomes of the candles. Since, the scented candles offer additional benefits, researching the same can bring an awesome idea. You can easily attain the best results. This helps you to feel good and overcome all your unhappy times and scents. Although, all the candles offer a sense of calmness and peace. The same can help you to calm your moods and then create a well-liked place. All the scented candles may carry around different forms of aromatherapy to bring out the appropriate feelings and emotions. These candles are filled with comforting and relaxing ingredients like jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood, rose, etc. It also provides appropriate relaxation and helps you to comfort yourself easily.


Question 5 - Which candles last the longest?

Answer - We love scented candles yet the same can help you to attain the appropriate results. Although, you can opt for natural wax, vegan or mineral wax. Even though the paraffin wax handles more scent yet the same can impact you negatively. These candles may last you longer but not as effectively as the beeswax variants. Alternatively, you can use soy wax candles for the best results. The quality of the wax, wicks and oils will give you a consistent burning candle. However, in terms of longevity, beeswax candles are the best. If you are using regular candles, then the same can be optimized using a wick that is cut down by 4 to 5 mm. This allows candles to burn evenly and then to prevent smoking. If you wish to make your expensive candles to last longer than use adequate storage strategies to attain the best results for your needs.


Question 6 - Which candles are nontoxic?

Answer - There are numerous candles that can work best for you. Many leading brands can help you to attain the best results and that too on the budget. If you wish to avoid using paraffin wax then you need to invest into beeswax, soy wax and coconut wax. For the best results, you need to invest in those that are 100 per cent soy or beeswax and as a result, you can achieve sustainable and eco-friendly products. You would wish to buy the wick with metal then it is best to avoid the same at all costs. Instead go for either cotton, hemp or wood wicks for the best results. Using the synthetic fragrance is a poor idea. However, you need to invest in the ones designed using lemon, sandalwood, jasmine, etc. It is thus best to go with the real and scented candles for the best results. These are extremely sustainable and safe for your benefit.


Question 7 - Which candles burn the longest?

Answer - It is observed that pure beeswax candles are the best choice especially if you wish to burn the same for longest. This is attributed to the fact that these are poured the high temperature needed to melt the same using the temperature around 65 Celsius. The rolled beeswax candles are rolled using thinner wax so that the same burns faster than the actual kind. Most people want to make candles from the wax that will last for a long term. If you are looking for the beeswax candles, then be sure that the same can be quite expensive. Similarly, it is best to ensure that the same can be free from the additives and hence it is best to ensure that the same is 100 percent pure. Also, adding foreign substances like colors and perfumes can surely affect the performance of these candles.


Question 8 - Which candles are healthy?

Answer - All forms of candles bought from the right retailer or online store after giving due consideration to the quality of the ingredients used can bring the best results. For instance - opting for summer inspired lemon-flavored candles offer a zesty breath of fresh air in the hot summer months. Similarly, using soy candles help to conjure up the images of freshness and cleanliness. Once you light them up, their natural aroma offers excellent results for your needs. To bring a positive impact on your home decor, light up sandalwood candles that lend a calming effect on your body. For those who love to highlight the home with a romantic appeal, using rose and jasmine fragrant candles is a good idea. Likewise, coconut candles or those designed by using bamboo are slightly expensive choices but can bring in awesome results for your home improvement needs. Their warm scent has a calming effect.


Question 9 - Which candles are safe?

Answer - It is observed that using candles made using natural alternatives to paraffin wax like soy ones can be a good idea. Similarly, coconut wax also works the best for you however, it can be quite expensive. Yet the same has a great scent throw and is designed in an eco-friendly fashion. Besides wax, the scent itself will affect the room and its quality. For instance - if you love scents like pumpkin, apple, etc. then you can enjoy these strong-smelling candles in these spicy blends. However, if you wish something that lasts for almost all year round then you surely need to choose enticing fragrances like jasmine, sandalwood, etc. These can be smelled from each room to another. It is important to seek advice from your friends and family to ensure that you have the best results. Likewise, due care must always be exercised to ensure the best outcomes for your home.


Question 10 - Which candles are the best?

Answer - There are a huge variety of products available online in terms of candles and as a result, selecting the best one can be difficult. However, when choosing the candles, it is important to steer clear of the cheap suppliers as the same can bring negative impact on you. These are designed using cheap alternatives and hence may not be perfect ones for your home improvement needs. Similarly, buying scented candles can come in a huge variety of alternatives like floral, woody, pine, etc. The candles with the best results are made with waxes that hold and diffuse scents well using potent fragrances. As a result of the same, the entire room smells like a lush and tropical area. Similarly, using paraffin wax that holds scents and fragrance quite well. However, the same is found to be made from petroleum and its byproduct. As a result, it can be potentially harmful when used for a long time.


Question 11 - Where to buy candles?

Answer - There are a variety of stores from where you can buy candles for your home. Whether you wish to buy these for fun or for decorating your homes, these candles have numerous benefits. Scented candles are an affordable therapy. You can just light these up after a day of hard work and feel your senses light up instantly. Many people believe that the transformative powers of scent can activate and access pleasant emotions, thoughts and sentiments. Due to their healing powers, you can unlock special care that helps you to overcome tensions created by stagnation and stress. As a result, when you opt to buy a candle, you need to first identify if you wish to buy brand or quality products. Once you are done, look for renowned online sale stores as these offers one of the widest selection of products and that too at an affordable price tag.


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