A Chemical History of a Candle


A Chemical History of a Candle, by Michael Faraday

Complete title: Course of Six Lectures on the Chemical History of a Candle

Synopsis: Faraday’s detailed examination of the candle, its composition, and the physical nature of its flames, is published here complete with the original illustrations and explanatory tables.

Although involved in developing several of the cutting-edge advances in thermodynamics in the era, Michael Faraday recognized that the essential principles of physics underpinned earlier innovations. This book outlines the three essential ingredients for fire; a supply of oxygen, a supply of fuel, and heat. The fundamental design of the candle, with its slow-melting wax and wick, is detailed.

As well as being a great scientist in his own right, Faraday was recognized as a lecturer capable of explaining with clarity principles which his contemporaries struggled to present to the general population. It can be argued that Michael Faraday was among the first of the ‘popular scientists’ capable of presenting science in a manner interesting and stimulating: it is in this spirit that he published this book.

This edition of The Chemical History of a Candle contains more than forty original, essential illustrations and tables. Many of these demonstrate and clarify the points Faraday makes, thereby offering the reader a greater degree of comprehension above and beyond Faraday’s concise written explanations.

First Published: 1861 | ISBN: 978-1499773767

Book’s Wiki Entry: The Chemical History of a Candle was the title of a series of six lectures on the chemistry and physics of flames given by Michael Faraday at the Royal Institution in 1848, as part of the series of Christmas lectures for young people founded by Faraday in 1825 and still given there every year. – Wiki

Mini-bio: Michael Faraday was a British scientist who contributed to the study of electromagnetism and electrochemistry. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism and electrolysis.

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