Soap, Candle and Related Fat Based Industires

From London's Ghost Acres

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Industries that processed animal and vegetable oils into a growing range of products.

Soap is made through a process called saponification: boiling oils or fats with an alkali, which produces the soap and glycerine. Manufacturers used animal waste (such as the fat, bones, or hooves) or vegetable oils and some form of lye (ashes, potash, caustic soda) to create soap.

Candles were first made of beeswax or tallow. Beeswax candles were high quality and expensive, while tallow candles were cheaper but didn't burn as well. Throughout the 19th century advancements were made involving stearine, vegetable oils (palm oil, coconut oil), and paraffin wax. Some candle manufacturers began using the process of saponification, which was already being used in the soap-making industry. This process was used to refine animal and vegetable oils to produce stearine. By-products of this process included oleine and glycerine, while a byproduct of the distillation process of oil to get paraffin wax was kerosene. The candle industry was able to make profits from both candles and the by-products.


Soap, Candles, Edible Oils, Glycerine

Raw Materials

Palm Oil, Cottonseed, Coconut Oil, Olive Oil, Whale Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Castor Oil, Tallow, Lard, Paraffin Wax, Beeswax, Caustic Soda, Barilla, Potash, Soda Ash