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Candle snuffer


Candlelight was predominantly used throughout the Victorian period for most ordinary activities, such as dining and playing cards, as well as cooking. During the early part of the period, most candles were made from animal fat, although more expensive whale oil and beeswax were also used. By the end of the nineteenth century the modern paraffin wax candle was most commonly used.


The wick in an animal fat or tallow candle had to be trimmed frequently with a snuffer to prevent the candle from both guttering, when rivulets of molten fat ran to waste down the side of the candle, and from smoking, which added to the already unpleasant smell.

It was important that the charred ends did not fall into the molten fat where they could cause guttering. Candle snuffers with a box attached to the blades allowed the cut ends to be caught and contained.

These brass candle snuffers comprise a rectangular box embossed with a scroll detail on three sides and a heraldic winged lion motif on the main panel. The handles are hinged to form a scissor action.

copper alloy, brass
length 126mm, width 30mm
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
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Dumfries & Galloway Council