by Amanda Mears
Candles have been lighting up homes for thousands of years, and scented candles are now a standard household decoration. These candles give off soft light, are handy in an emergency and fill your home with an enveloping aroma. Although they've recently experienced a surge in popularity, scented candles have been around longer than you might think. Keep reading to discover the rich history of scented candles.
Scented candles make their debut in A.D. 200. You may be surprised to learn that scented candles came into existence in Europe almost 2,000 years ago -- around the same time that candles were invented. Western Europeans sought to mask the odor of harsh oil-burning candles by mixing essential oils in with the highly flammable tallow oil originally used in candle production. These floral-scented oils were used to improve moods, making them the world's first aromatherapy candles.
Scented candles come to America. Scented candles were popularized in Colonial America when people began creating wax by boiling sweet-smelling bayberries. This labor-intensive process created the first naturally scented candle and introduced a new way of candle making that didn't use animal fats in the manufacturing of wax.
Candle production gets a boost in 1834. Patented technology created by inventor Joseph Morgan allowed for the economical production of molded candles and brought candles to households everywhere. The spread of mechanical candle making paved the way for scented candles that reside in many homes today.
The 1990s brought candles back into popular culture. With the production of new waxes like soybean wax came a resurgence in the number of candles produced. As cleaner burning candles became more readily available, so did the variety of scented candles we have today. Quality scented soy candles that use clean-burning wax can now be found in luxury boutiques and specialty retail shops around the world.
In 2002 wickless scented candles were introduced. One of the most recent candle inventions, wickless candles use candle warmers to release the same great scent found in standard scented candles. These new candles are ideal for households with children or pets because they don't require an open flame to burn, instead relying on a candle warmer to heat up.