This section is from the "Encyclopedia Of Practical Receipts And Processes" book, by William B. Dick. Also available from Amazon: Dick's encyclopedia of practical receipts and processes.
To Make Home-made Tallow Candles. Tallow candles are made in. two different forms; the mould candle is the easiest to make, but involves the expense of a mould made expressly for the purpose; the dip candle requires mare trouble, but no apparatus to make it; the first cost, however, of a candle mould is fully compensated for by the superiority of the candles made by it over those made by dipping.
632. To Make Candle Wicks. The wicks are composed of cotton yarn (what is known as No. 16 is a good size for the purpose) ; for candles of 8 to the pound, about 40 threads, and for 6 to the pound, about 50 threads of yarn should be very loosely twisted together. The light from a tallow candle can be improved in clearness and brilliancy by using small wicks which have been dipped in spirit of turpentine and thoroughly dried.
633. To Make Mould Candles. The wicks are secured in the centre of each mould by passing over thin sticks, one of which is laid over the top of the mould (corresponding to the bottom of the candles), and the other against the bottom points of the moulds. The end of the twisted wick is fastened to the stick on the top of the mould, and is drawn by a piece of hooked wire, through each mould in succession, leaving a loop outside the bottom points of the mould; the loops are secured there by the bottom stick passing through them; the wicks are to be drawn tight and the last end tied to the upper stick. The melted tallow is then poured into the moulds and allowed to stand about 6 hours in a cool place, after which the bottom stick must be taken out of the loops, and the candles withdrawn from the moulds. The tallow should not be heated much more than is necessary to melt it.
634. To Make Dip Candles. Dip candles are made by looping a number of separate wicks over a rod, and dipping them into very liquid tallow, until the required thickness is attained, allowing the tallow which adheres after each dipping to set or harden before dipping again. Before the second dip, it is well to lay the wicks on a flat surface, and straighten them, and a suitable contrivance adopted for holding the rod while drying between the dips.
635. Tallow for Making Candles. A good tallow for candles consists of about 1/3 beef and 2/3 mutton suet. If required for summer use it will be improved by hardening according to receipts No. 639 or 640; it can, if needed, be so hardened as to have almost the appearance of stearine. (See No. 638 (To Harden Tallow by Capaccio-ni's Process).)
636. To Make Lard Candles. To every 8 pounds of lard add 1 ounce of nitric acid. Having carefully weighed the lard, place it over a slow fire, or at least merely melt it; then add the acid, and mould the same as tallow ; this makes a clear, beautiful candle. A small proportion of beeswax will make them harder.
637. To Harden Tallow Candles. The following mixtures for hardening tallow candles are patented in England. The candles are successively and rapidly dipped, first in Mixture I., which consists of stearic acid, 50 parts; tallow, 44 parts; camphor, 3 parts;
white resin, 2 parts; and gum darnar, 1 part. When cool and hard they are dipped into Mixture II., which consists of stearic acid, 70 parts; tallow, 24 parts; camphor, 3 parts; white wax, 2 parts; gum damar, 1 part; and finally into Mixture III., which is composed of stearic acid, 90 parts; tallow, 5 parts; camphor, 3 parts; white wax, 2 parts.
638. To Harden Tallow by Capaccio-ni's Process. Melt 1000 parts tallow, and gradually stir into it 7 parts sugar of lead previously dissolved in water, being careful to keep the mass constantly agitated during the process. In a few minutes diminish the heat, and add 15 parts incense (powdered) with 1 part turpentine, keeping the mass constantly stirred as before. Then allow the mixture to remain warm until the insoluble parts of the incense settle to the bottom, usually several hours. By this process the sugar of lead so hardens the tallow that it yields a material very similar to stearine (stearic acid), while the incense improves its odor. It is said that tallow treated in this way, when made into candles, will not gutter or run.
639. To Harden and Whiten Tallow for Summer Use. Gently boil the tallow with the addition of a little beeswax, 1 or 2 hours a day for 2 days, in a suitable kettle, adding weak lye and skimming often; cut it out of the pot when cold, and scrape off the underneath soft portion, adding fresh but weak lye before the second boiling. The third day simmer, and skim it, in water containing 1 pound of alum and 1 pound saltpetre for each 30 pounds of tallow. "When cold it can be taken off the water for use. Tallow thus treated will make good hard white candles for summer purposes.
640. To Harden Tallow for Making Candles. Use 1 pound of alum for each 5 pounds of tallow. Dissolve the alum in water, then put in the tallow and stir until both are melted together, then run in moulds. Candles made in this way will be as hard and white as wax.
641. To Harden Tallow with Resin. To 1 pound tallow take 1/4 pound common resin ; melt them together, and mould the candles the usual way. This will give a candle of superior lighting power, and as hard as a wax candle; a vast improvement upon the common tallow candle, in all respects except color.