Saturday, 23 June 2007
Children, don't try this at home!
Well, that was exciting!
I had been charged with the job of getting old, melted candles out of a glass holder. The sort of holder where you take a coloured tea-light candle out of its aluminium cup and put the candle on its own in the glass container so you can see the coloured wax as it burns. The time had come to clean the glasses in preparation for some new candles.
My thought was if I sat the container in some hot water the candle may release from the glass and make cleaning easy. But the quality of the glass is unknown; what if the water was too hot and it cracked the glass? Yes, I know the candles make the glass hot but it is a gradual process.
OK, thinks me, I will stand the candle in a bowl of water and microwave it. That way the water will warm slowly and all will be fine.
Did you know that the wicks of tea-candles will ignite in a microwave?
I do now. Very pretty it was.
On reflection I should have guessed. Many moons ago, at work, we were testing candle wicks for their lead content. Apparently some manufactures would put a thin filament of lead in the candle wick and there was concern at the time about airborne lead from burning candles. Other manufacturers used zinc. The idea was that the metal gave the wick some rigidity so it would remain upright when all the wax in the container melted.
So, there you go. Children! Don't microwave your candles!