The first recorded use of candles is in fat-based items invented by the Egyptians circa 3000 B.C. These candles, called rushlights, were made from reeds coated in animal fat.
Although candles date back to ancient Egyptian times, there are concrete references to them in Biblical writings setting even earlier potential dates.
In European history, a fragment of a candle was found in France that dates back to 100 A.D. Later, the Romans improved on the model by creating the first wick made out of interwoven fibers.
Beeswax soon replaced tallow and animal fat candles for those that could afford it. During the 19th century, fiber wicks were replaced by cotton ones, and tallow was replaced by paraffin. Paraffin was considered preferable as it had neither the strong odor of tallow nor the cost of beeswax.