Georgian Candlewick Trimmer
A Georgian polished carbon steel candlewick trimmer with a beautifully crafted and fully working extinguisher box. The extinguisher box is fitted with an inner trapdoor, which pulls out to keep the trimmed wicks safely housed.
Candle wick trimmers were in use from the 14th century up until the mid 19th century. Designed and used to promote the slow and steady burning of candles, they were often made from polished carbon steel, such as the trimmers we offer here.
Candles were once our primary night-time light source, and it was soon learnt that the ideal length of the wick should be ¼ – 1/8 inch. Wick trimmers were created to maintain this optimum length. The key feature of the trimmers is the extinguisher box tray that is incorporated into the blades; its purpose, to collect the snipped wick, which kept everything around the candle tidy, preventing scorch marks and soot stains on furniture, tablecloths and carpets, or, even, the start of a fire.
Candles used to be made from poor-quality animal fat and tallow from slaughterhouse waste. Once melted it was processed into candles (and soap). The candles had a rancid, unpleasant smell, yet their biggest drawback: they burned erratically and un-cleanly. In addition, the wick itself didn’t burn, and so it became longer and longer as the candle burned down. As a result, the candle started to give off increasing amounts of smut and sooty smoke; the cheap fat oozed and dripped. The candle emitted a foul odour and produced less and less light until the flame, getting smaller and smaller, finally sputtered out. Hence the need for candle wick trimmers, which had to be used every 5 – 20 minutes on every candle burning in the house!
Dimensions: Length 17.5cm
Country of origin: UK
Date of manufacture: c.1850
Condition: the mechanism works beautifully, and everything is tip-top, yet it is missing its front foot - however this doesn't effect its functionality.
Is this a gift?
Our very handsome gift box (see image) will turn your generosity into something extra-special. To add to your order click here, and your cutlery will arrive beautifully wrapped and parcelled with our hallmark oval blue sticker. We can also add a name tag and any message you would like included.