How to calculate time with candles
Candles can not only be used for lighting but also to calculate and measure time.
Timekeeping – Candle clock
An advent candle burning on the fourth day of December.With the fairly consistent and measurable burning of a candle, a common use was to tell the time. The candle designed for this purpose might have time measurements, usually in hours, marked along the wax.
The Song dynasty in China (960–1279) used candle-clocks. By the 18th century, candle-clocks were being made with weights set into the sides of the candle. As the candle melted, the weights fell off and made a noise as they fell into a bowl. A form of candle-clock was used in coal-mining until the 20th century.[citation needed
In the days leading to Christmas some people burn a candle a set amount to represent each day, as marked on the candle. The type of candle used in this way is called the Advent candle, although this term is also used to refer to a candle that decorates an Advent wreath.
Before the invention of electric lighting, candles and oil lamps were commonly used for illumination. In areas without electricity, they are still used routinely. Until the 20th century, candles were more common in northern Europe. In southern Europe and the Mediterranean, oil lamps predominated. In the developed world today, candles are used mainly for their aesthetic value and scent, particularly to set a soft, warm, or romantic ambiance, for emergency lighting during electrical power failures, and for religious or ritual purposes. Scented candles are used in aromatherapy.