Molly's Country Memories

Molly's Country Memories

The memories and happening in the everyday life of a country girl

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The courting candle

    Last Weds while out running errands, I stopped at my favorite Thrift store, while there I found the cutest candle holder, when I posted it several ladies where sweet enough to tell me they thought it was a courting candle. You can ready that post here...

    Well being dumb and not knowing what that was I went a hunting and found several pages of info, I was beginning to think mine wasn't a courting candle because they are described to look

    like this....

    And this

    This morning when I went to town I ran into and old friend who had her Grandmother with her, MS Ellie is 90 yrs old and very alert and still very sharp. Of course everyone here knows I love to go junkin and my friend asked if I'd been lately, well we know the answer to that started telling her about the candle stick and how I had hoped it was a courting candle, but it didn't look like the ones on the internet. Ms. Ellie wanted to know what it looked like, I described it and she said that it sure was a courting candle, that in the late 1800's and early 1900's folks quite making them and started buying ready made ones and this was just like one her Grandmother had used for her Momma. How neat is that, I have it displayed on my little photo cabinet but hope to have a nicer table for it soon. Also plan on new flooring and HOPEFULLY new couch..

    I found this info here

    A courting candle

  1. The courting candle was brought out into the family home when a young woman began to attract serious suitors.
    The candleholder was set up in the room where the suitor was allowed to visit with the single daughter of the family. The father, mother or other male family member who lived in the home if the father was deceased or at war would determine how long the suitor could visit. The candle, which was dominant home lighting during this time period, would be the timer that provided a quiet reminder and uninterrupted "date" for the couple.
  2. Function

  3. A courting candle was made from wrought iron, tin, pewter or silver. Most courting candleholders were fashioned by a blacksmith or tinsmith. Replicas of these holders found at museum stores and candle product web sites show a wrought iron piece that resembles a loosely coiled spring. A piece of wood sits just under the taper. The unit has a small peg of metal or wood that can be inserted between the coils and into a drilled hole. This keeps the wooden support in place with the candle set on top of it. The candle can be raised or lowered with this wooden piece that is the basic shape of the candle taper bottom.
  4. History

  5. In the 1600s to 1800s, fathers, parents or guardians of a marriageable young lady would allow suitors to visit her in her home. The couple were allowed to visit in a sitting room, parlor or on the front porch. The father would prepare a candleholder called a courting candle or suitors candle and set it up in the area where the couple sat. The father would observe the suitor and decide an amount of time that he felt comfortable with for the man to visit and socialize. The candle height would be adjusted to measure out the time. The candle was raised or lowered with a peg or thumb lever. When the candle burned to the metal at the top of the candleholder it was the firm yet polite signal that it was time for the suitor to bid the young woman good evening and leave.
  6. Considerations

  7. Fathers from high society to the Amish, on to hardworking farmers and fisherman observed this tradition. Daughters learned that they must respect their parents' judgment concerning the men who presented themselves to the family as a potential husband. She had to defer to her father's ability to measure the honesty, character and ability of a man. The couple also learned to use time wisely as they got to know one another, talking, singing and reading together. The suitor most certainly learned how much the parents loved and cared for their daughter's well-being.
  8. Effects

  9. The father also had the choice to snuff out a candle and immediately end the meeting if he thought it was necessary. If the suitor was highly approved, the father would raise the candle to its highest possible point. This would enable the couple to have a longer, yet supervised visit, as was proper at the time. On occasions a father was known to add a second candle to the holder.
    On the day of the daughter's wedding the father sometimes passed the courting candle on to his new son-in-law to for future daughters.
Can't help but wonder if we still used these would things be alot different.. maybe not as many unwanted teen pregencies.
I just love my blogging friends and the internet.


  1. How fun. We have a courting candle too. One of our daughters picked it up when she visited Illinois a while back.

  2. What a neat story. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Oh, how neat, Molly! Don't you just love to find out the history about your treasures.

  4. Thank you for doing the research and then posting a photograph of a courting candlestick. I am older than dirt and learned something new today. Thanks a million.
    Joyce M


Little sweet memories whispered..