Candle making was developed independently in many places throughout history. Candles were made by the Romans beginning about 500 BC. These were true dipped candles and made from tallow. Evidence for candles made from whale fat in China dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC).
In India, wax from boiling cinnamon was used for temple candles. In parts of Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, where lamp oil made from olives was readily available, candle making remained unknown until the early middle-ages. Candles were primarily made from tallow and beeswax in ancient times, but have been made from spermaceti, purified animal fats (stearin) and paraffin wax in recent centuries.