Well, here we are again at the Techie’s Corner. This month, we will wind up our section on methods of creating fake fire for the stage with a brief discussion on torches, candles and lanterns.
Torches have been around, well, forever. In fact torches have been around longer than we have. Somewhere in the far distant past, one of our proto human ancestors picked up a burning branch from a wildfire and lit his way down the dark path to the future. The basic torch has changed very little since then. However, man, never satisfied with the basic model of anything, tried many variations and “improvements” along the way.
The first improvement was probably when some one discovered that a large pine knot full of hardened sap would burn longer than a plain branch. After that it would have been an easy step to experiment with other methods of making torches last longer. One early method was to wrap the head of the torch in a loose weave of plant fibers and then soak that in animal fat.