London Research #3 – candles

Today’s entry, extracted from the soon-to-be-released JANE AUSTEN SHOPPED HERE:
The best candles were made of beeswax. These were not often used by the common man, being too expensive, instead he burned tallow candles. Candles could also be made of spermaceti, a waxy oil derived from sperm whales’ heads; both beeswax and spermaceti candles gave off better light and less smell than the alternatives.
Tallow candles, with the wicks dipped in animal fat, were also (from their nature) called dips. Their light flickered more and was smelly.
There were also rushlights: strips of plant fiber drawn through cooking grease or tallow; a two foot long one might burn for 45 minutes. Their light was decent and, unlike candles, were not taxed. Rushlights burned best in a bowl, as they needed an angle to burn well.
Similarly, there was also the ancient method of a wick floating in a bowl of oil or grease, but they were smelly and smoky.

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