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Candle Makers
The candle makers were responsible for providing the major source of
artificial light at the Adobe.
Each student is to make two candles.
Autumn was the usual time for candle-making in early California. Long
hours were spent boiling (rendering) down the fat of the newly slaughtered beef
into tallow. Not only was the job sweaty and hot, but the odor of the rendering fatwas also unpleasant and the product was far from perfect; the candles burned
too rapidly, buckled in warm weather, and gave off fumes and smoke.
Other sources of wax were available-spermaceti and beeswax-but both
were expensive, and candles make from them were reserved for special
occasions. It was not until the discovery of paraffin in the 1850’s that the
average family could enjoy theluxury of bright, steady, and smokeless


Candle Making Station
Materials Needed: (*Provided by Park)
* Long Candle Sticks
* Candle Rack
* Wicking
* Putty Knife
* Scissors
* Wax scrap bucket
* Bucket for water (always standing by the candle pot to diffuse an out of control
Pens (the class needs to supply these)
Masking Tape (the class needs to supplythis)

Station Set-up:
The park staff will start the fire under the candle pot in the morning before your
If this is not done, do the following:
1. Remove the lid from the candle pot. It can sit next to the door into the
Leather Room on the timbers that are lying on the ground.
2. Select small logs and kindling from the woodpile.
3. Build a fire under the candle pot.
07-22-06 4. A well-maintained fire takes about two hours to melt the wax. It is very
important to keep an eye on the fire and wax at all times, as a boiling wax pot
is an EXTREME fire hazard.
5. Once the fire is started, it is time to set up the rest of the station.
6. The candle rack is stored next to the open shelf unit and the black chest of
drawers in the ELP supply room.
7. The previous classshould have tied two new strings on to each stick for you.
8. Move the candlesticks and the candle rack over to the candle pot. The rack
sits between the Leather Room door and the timbers that are lying on the
ground next to the wall. (To the left of the Leather Room.)
9. Put a strip of masking tape (about three inches) on each stick. This is for the
kids to write their names on.
10. The wickstrings should be about two inches apart on the stick and about 1-2
inches from the end.
11. Once the wax is melted, the fire can die out or be removed to the cooks’ grills.
The fire is not maintained under the candle pot the whole time because the
wax can become too hot and boil or prevent candles from forming. However,
please read the “Things to remember” section below regarding the waxcooling.
Things to remember:
1. Wax is tricky. If the wax is too cool, the candles will be lumpy. If the wax is
too hot, the candles will be very thin and not build up.
2. If the wax is too hot it can only cool down by its self
3. If the wax is too cool, take a shovel full or two of hot coals from the cooks’ fire
and place those under the candle pot. You will know when to add coals bywatching the top of the wax in the candle pot. A small ring of white cool wax
will form around the edges of the pot. This is when you add coals.
4. WAX is FLAMMABLE. If, the wax should catch fire, douse the flames by
covering the wax container with the lid. NEVER, NEVER put water on a wax
fire. You will only spread the fire and risk an explosion. A fire extinguisher is
located in the office.
Pleasenote: The pot contains over 100 pounds of melted paraffin which
could cause severe burns so caution must be exercised at all times. Due to
this hazard we will shut down the station if we observe any unsafe
condition. Underlined items below are absolute! No exception of these will
be accepted.


Rack is next to Leather Room Door

1. Students should put their names on...