February 26, 2014

Chinese candles........A Public Service Announcement

The setting is my friend Marsha Reinecke's historic home in Geneva, Illinois

It is Valentine's evening
Marsha and Mark were celebrating the occasion at their home with another couple.
 Dinner had concluded, the men retired to the parlor and the women cleared the plates to the kitchen. Within moments, actually a mere minute or two, the men smelled smoke and looked back into the dining room to see flames on the center of the table, nearly lapping the base of the chandelier
The fortunate result is the water goblets had not been removed and were fairly full. Marsha believes that if they had gone back into the kitchen to gather water, the fire would have been out of control.
Below was a wooden floor
Adjacent was this grand wooden staircase. Actually, this old house is all wood
         The dining room table had a pad, topped by a tablecloth and here is the damage in minutes, notice how wide it spread.
What was the culprit?
An inexpensive taper and it's spark. You see, what has since been discovered is that the cost friendly tapers were made in China. The wick contained metal shavings, they all do.
Right,  metal + fire = sparks.
I know, I am still reeling with this new found knowledge. The demand for dripless candles and lax codes from China are a threat
My go to candle company is Creative Candles manufactured in the US, Kansas City, Mo.
Battery candles; the tapers are ever improving. Come Fall, the new introductions will surprise you

My go to is the battery pillar candle. Have you seen these, with the "dancing" flame? 
We constantly re-order this staple for the shop. 
Relaying this story to my family, they did not realize the candles scattered everywhere, for Christmas, were faux.
When hostessing, I cannot be bothered worrying about candles, but if they are contained,
made in the USA or faux, I too can enjoy my guests, attractively.

I truly consider this my most important post and I urge you to pass this message on. That is what friends do, we look out for each other. Thank you for this warning Marsha

As an aside, Mark Reineke, Phd, wrote this book, available here .  In concise, laymen terms, he guides us, brilliantly. Leave a comment, would love to send a copy to one lucky reader

PS; Thank you for all the wishes for a speedy recovery, I am half way in, only 3 more weeks. Won't be dancing, but shuffling sounds really good about now!


  1. Thank you for sharing the information about the candles. The battery operated flame-less variety really have developed and look great.

    Great book title - I can see how it would jump right to the point.

  2. I've been thinking of you Debra, I know that it has been a long road to recovery. Thanks for this information, I had no idea! Being here in Kansas City I can attest to the quality of Creative Candles!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Debra,
    This is scary information. The candles you showed us were pretty so I probably would have bought them too. I do love the flameless candles and there are pillars at one of my favorite nursery/gift stores in our area. They look amazingly real but they are $49 each...I've been waiting for the price to drop a bit. The pretend flame really does dance like it's real. This is a great post and I'll pass it on via my facebook and twitter. Thanks, and I'm relieved to know that your friends are okay.

    1. Hi Karen. I have bought flameless candles at Bed Bath and Beyond for much more reasonable prices than $49. I use them extensively at Christmas, especially the pillar candles. The dancing flames are more expensive, but the "ordinary" flickering bulb pillars are really quite reasonable. (I don't work for them, I just spend inordinate amounts of money there!)

  4. Thanks for the information...I'm so glad these are available!

  5. thanks for the important info. I need to stay calm...would love the book. Thanks

  6. Even the candles in jars from china pose a threat...I had the glass fracture and start a fire in my kitchen. I love my dancing flame candles! Please tell me the tapers are being created!

  7. Age 8, 2 houses down, Christmas Day, a friend's house burned to a total crisp.

    THANK YOU for this info.

    XO T

  8. forgot to mention, the candles were from home goods

  9. Thank you , Debra; I had no idea. Very scary!

    All best,

  10. Oh gosh that is scary! I am so glam that was the end of it. Thank you for passing on your valuable information. I hope you are feeling better! Rest up, heal nicely and we shall get some lunch once Spring comes. xoxoxo E

  11. Wow, very scary. I hate candles; they so dangerous.

  12. Thanks for the shout out for Creative Candles. We appreciate your support!

  13. That staircase is a showstopper!!! Absolutely divine! Very beautiful home.

    Debra, thanks for sharing this post on the candles - scary.

    Glad you are feeling better. Take care, Loi

  14. Holy smoke (pun intended)!! This was scary and made me mad that these inferior products make their way into our market. Candles make me nervous too unless they are contained in a tip-proof container and even then I'm a nervous Nellie.

  15. I had a similar experience with a tealight. It shot flames and hot wax up over 1 foot. I reported it to the Consumer Product Commission. It was investigated thoroughly, even with a nice gentleman calling me. Do report these type of incidents as that is how recalls happen.

  16. We had that happen years ago with a candle from Mexico. The culprit may have been the wick, but the candle also had dried flowers in the outside layer of the wax. All of a sudden my smoke alarm was going off. It was in a tiny (but main!) bath on the back of the toilet, I dumped it in the toilet to put it out, but less than a foot away was the shower curtain and of course behind the toilet was drywall. Scary!

  17. Terrifying, and many thanks for the warning. I'll pass it on.
    The battery-operated candles I've found all seem to have some sort of chemical "scent", which is a turn-off in our house. Looking for a good source of beeswax candles -- I'll check out your Creative Candles, too.

  18. Wow. Thanks for the info. I just glanced over at some cheap dripless candles hanging in sconces over an old piano & some nice upholstery. They're in the trash now. Thank you!


  19. It is really a looking great beautiful. I have already loved them without trying! I am satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing. Keep it continue. Get Wholesale Unscented Pillar Candles .


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