miniature candlestick
© F H Powell 2011

Yesterday (February 2nd) was Candlemas, and this had us thinking that you don’t often find a candle today without a holder or candlestick due to fire risks. So what is a candlestick? The commonly accepted definition is that a candlestick is a holder for one or more candles. That is to say that the wax or other flammable material with a central wick is not a candlestick but a candle. Alternative names are chamberstick, candle holders or candelabrum.

In its earliest basic form a torch, made from strands of wood or vine dipped in tallow or wax, could be carried if tied together to form a handle. The first writings ascribing to the word candlestick which gave the impression of a permanently fixed rather than torch like structure date back to ancient times. There are references to candlesticks in the bible, Roman writings and other writings of this time.

Therefore the earliest uses for candlesticks were as religious symbols, such as the Menorah for Israel. By the 14th century the candlestick had become more common across Europe and was becoming a functional item, particularly as a means of lighting the bedroom. The expensive precious metals of the religious variety giving way at first to a hardwood stick with metal shaft. Then progressively to cheap metals and pottery became available often with a cup or stand to collect dripping candle wax..

The advent of gas lighting at the start of the 19th century and moreover the introduction of electric lighting towards the end of that century spelled the end of candles as a utilitarian method of lighting the home.

Today the candlestick is seen merely as a decorative or even romantic addition to a home. Advances in the production of metals has meant that quite ornate candlesticks are available at relatively low cost and are particularly popular around Christmas time. The brass candlestick is often the murder weapon of choice in many a crime thriller not to mention a popular board game.

So for whatever reason an authentic candlestick would bring that touch of festive decoration, romance or murder to your dolls house!