A Hodgepodge of Ancient Trivia 2

When honeybees build their honeycombs, they secrete a substance known as beeswax. We also know the substance as a material used to make candles. However, the process was not born for humans until the Middle Ages. In this article you will learn more interesting facts about ancient practices and early inventions, such as the first record of butter.

Mind Your Own Beeswax

Before humans found a use for beeswax, they made due with candles made out of rendered animal fat called tallow. When lit, a smoky flame rose into the air and also produced a pretty unpleasant scent. Candles using beeswax were quite different, as they burned pure and clean. In the past, you didn’t see the widespread use of beeswax candles as today. They were very expensive, making it nearly impossible for serfs and peasants to enjoy.

Other changes in candle making history took place, such as the progression of whaling that emerged during the late 1700s. Large amounts of spermaceti (a waxy substance associated with sperm-whale oil) became readily available. By the time the 19th century rolled around, candles were produced by the boatloads and paraffin wax made it possible for the creation of low-cost candles.

Butter Me Up

Caught in a semi-solid state, butter is created after the process of churning cream has taken place. This particular practice has been traced back to the ancient days of the Sumerian culture. Upon reading tablets that date back to 2500 BC, evidence pointed to butter making. Other ancient people took part in making butter. A few examples include:

·    An Egyptian grave dating back 2,000 years revealed an actual churn filled with butter. There is proof that butter was widely used during the days of King Tut. The butter that they ate was comprised of milk that came from water buffaloes and camels.

·    In the Bible, you will also find references to butter , the kind made from a cow.

·    In later years, the Vikings would be credited with presenting the substance to Normandy , a region that would blossom into one of the most recognizable places for making butter.

Pack Up and Go

Without the invention of the Chinese, you wouldn’t have the kind of boxes used today to pack and store all of your valuables and possessions during a move. During the early 1500s, the Chinese are credited with inventing cardboard. The first real cardboard box was the brainchild of Albert Jones, a New Yorker who came up with the idea to glue a piece of corrugated paper between two pieces of flat cardboard to construct a material strong enough for shipping. It wasn’t, but his progress led the way for Robert Gair to invent the corrugated cardboard box that we see today. In 1890, Gair came up with the idea to produce pre-cut flat pieces of cardboard that was sold in bulk and could be folded into a box.