General Collectibles > Miscellaneous Antiques

18th Century Iron Candle Snuffers

Item#: MIS561



These scissors like Candle Snuffers were used to shorten the wicks of candles. Snuffers, also known as wick trimmers and candle shearers, appeared in the late fifteenth century out of the need to trim the wicks of twisted cotton strands. The twisted wicks did not burn off and produced a large, smoking flame if not trimmed periodically. To snuff a candle means to trim the wick, not extinguish the flame. Vast improvements were made to wicks when in 1834 ‘mordanting’ was discovered. It causes the wick outside the flame to curl and turn to ash. These snuffers stand on three legs and are made completely of iron with rivets instead of screws, attesting to a relative early period of manufacturing. There are two hinged blades; one fitted with a box, which is a receptacle for the charred wick that has been cut off, the other, with a plate that is pressed into the box when the candle is snuffed. The pointed end of the snuffers was used to dig the wick out of the remaining wax.