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Is This A Wax Jack ?



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This looks like one of the modern versions of a wax jack, basically just a novelty for show. The coil is thick and large and the stand looks like shiny new base metal. It is much larger than antique jacks. The modern ones are touted to be the kind to "burn for an hour" type, depending on how much of the coil you have above the scissor to burn. It is more or less the style of the wax jack, however. And, I don't see any reason why you could not use it like a wax jack.

 

The antique wax jacks were lit to melt wax for wax seals. The wax coils were much smaller (in girth) and only burned for the minutes it took to create the seals. They weren't really intended as light sources. They were made from iron, brass, and silver (sterling or plated) for the most part.

 

You can see some of the wax jacks I have collected here. The one second from the left has a modern coil replacement, which does not fit the jack and I need to find a replacement. That is not an easy task.

 

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j111/kiavonne/Wax%20Jacks/My%20Wax%20Jacks/MyWaxJacks.jpg

 

 

Oh, and keeping the silver polished is a job in itself - that I am not very good at.

Edited by kiavonne

Scribere est agere.

To write is to act.

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Danitrio Fellowship

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This looks like one of the modern versions of a wax jack, basically just a novelty for show. The coil is thick and large and the stand looks like shiny new base metal. It is much larger than antique jacks. The modern ones are touted to be the kind to "burn for an hour" type, depending on how much of the coil you have above the scissor to burn. It is more or less the style of the wax jack, however. And, I don't see any reason why you could not use it like a wax jack.

 

The antique wax jacks were lit to melt wax for wax seals. The wax coils were much smaller (in girth) and only burned for the minutes it took to create the seals. They weren't really intended as light sources. They were made from iron, brass, and silver (sterling or plated) for the most part.

 

You can see some of the wax jacks I have collected here. The one second from the left has a modern coil replacement, which does not fit the jack and I need to find a replacement. That is not an easy task.

 

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j111/kiavonne/Wax%20Jacks/My%20Wax%20Jacks/MyWaxJacks.jpg

 

 

Oh, and keeping the silver polished is a job in itself - that I am not very good at.

 

Thank you kiavonne!! I was hoping YOU'D write in because it was your post long ago that made me aware of the existence of wax jacks at all. Mine is definitely modern and looks like chrome. It has modern bolts on the bottom and a made in Hong Kong sticker along with a "don't leave candles unattended sticker."

 

I'm still not clear as to how to use it. The wax is on the sticky side. Do I just melt a bit of the red wax and then use a sealing wax seal on it?

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I'm still not clear as to how to use it. The wax is on the sticky side. Do I just melt a bit of the red wax and then use a sealing wax seal on it?

 

The modern wax is a beeswax base, but I wouldn't use it for sealing wax. These are just novelty candles, basically. You would light this wax as the heat source for melting your actual sealing wax (as opposed to a lighter, matches, oil burner, etc.).

Edited by kiavonne

Scribere est agere.

To write is to act.

___________________________

Danitrio Fellowship

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You could try making your own wax coils kiavonne, the rolling isn't that difficult. I've already seen recipes for the coil wax in old books, want me to keep an eye open for a good recipe?

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  • 1 year later...

Pardon me, but what's a wax jack for and what's the wax for?

 

 

A very excellent answer to your query is from the "Internet Antique Gazette:"

 

Wax Jacks

Wax jacks were used in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries for heating and thus softening the hard wax discs or sticks that were used to seal letters and documents. A standard candle would have accomplished the same purpose, but the jack allowed the user to employ a thin, and thus less expensive, taper instead.

 

The wax jack was produced in a wide variety of forms in silver, wrought iron, brass or bell metal. It usually comprised a vertical or horizontal shaft mounted on a pan with legs and topped with a scissors-like pincer. The thin wax taper came in long rope-like lengths and was coiled around the shaft with its ‘business end’ stretching up to the pincer where it could be held in place and the flame easily controlled to melt the sealing wax. A variant, called a bougie box, included a pierce-decorated enclosure around the shaft, often in the form of a canister or ball, in which the wax taper could be contained while allowing one to see how much remained in the jack. Occasionally a cone-form extinguisher was provided as part of the jack.

 

Wax jacks are most frequently found in England and on the Continent. They are known to have been used in the American colonies, but are thought to have been rarities. Envelopes were not in general use in the colonial period; correspondence was folded over and sealed with a wax puddle impressed with sender’s insignia or initial. Wax seals were also used on some official governmental documents. Thus the need for a wax jack was limited to individuals with a substantial correspondence or to senior governmental officials, a relatively small number of individuals in the colonies.

 

Period inventories occasionally document the presence of a wax jack. When Lord Botetourt died in 1770 at the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia his inventory listed ’1 large black ink stand, 1 small Japan’d do [ditto], 1 Green wax Taper & Stand’ on the desk in the closet off the parlor. (Taper and stand is another period term for wax jack.)

 

There is no evidence of wax jacks being used for lighting. They were pretty messy when lit for too long, so they probably weren’t practical as lighting devices. Their thin rope tapers would not have provided much illumination for lighting purposes either.

 

Wax jacks are an interesting and affordable area of antique collecting, with auction prices ranging from about $200 to around $1,500. They also make an ideal period accessory for display on fall-front desks or secretaries in a collector’s home.

 

 

*** A nice place to get a replacement Beeswax Replacement Coil for your Jack: http://www.candlestock.com/Beeswax-Replacement-Coil-Candle_p_228.html

 

I hope this is helpful : )

Kindest Regards

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Thanks for your info, HGAndre, and welcome to FPN!

 

The replacement coil you've referenced is for the current coil candles and is much too large for the antique wax jacks. I do appreciate the link, though. I follow them all. :)

 

Here is a comparison of the antique and modern:

 

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j111/kiavonne/Wax%20Jacks/My%20Wax%20Jacks/novelty2.jpg

Scribere est agere.

To write is to act.

___________________________

Danitrio Fellowship

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fuchsiaprincess

Is the coil soft and pliable?

http://i1027.photobucket.com/albums/y331/fuchsiaprincess/Fuchsiaprincess_0001.jpg http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/036/2/2/Narnia_Flag_by_Narnia14.gif

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Thanks for your info, HGAndre, and welcome to FPN!

 

The replacement coil you've referenced is for the current coil candles and is much too large for the antique wax jacks. I do appreciate the link, though. I follow them all. :)

 

Here is a comparison of the antique and modern:

 

http://i78.photobucket.com/albums/j111/kiavonne/Wax%20Jacks/My%20Wax%20Jacks/novelty2.jpg

Dear Kiavonne,

 

Thank You for your congenial welcome. Yes, I know that the coil is a bit large; however, it is the only one I've been able to find in my searches. I have have just thinned mine down with a sharp warm knife, carefully. If you know of any period purveyors of coils ~ I know their would be many happy people out their. I hear in England they are available; nonetheless, I've never found anything accept for the one in this link to replace my own.

 

In this age of texting, cell phones, and email; I find myself drawn back to the wonderful great times of past when the artful and skilled letter writing, by hand, was done so proficiently and eloquently, complete with seal. Myself, I've gone back to the quill, old ink, and pounce. And, take my time writing a meaningful letter or note. To this day, the Post Office, is required to mail letters with seals upon them. How much longer will that last I query? But, for now, they must deliver them.

 

Kindest Regards

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Kiavonne, Is that one of Renaisseance Arts large Medieval journals? It looks awesome! Do you like the paper with fountain pens?

 

The coil candles were a big seller a couple of years ago on Amazon.com. I got two of them. One was a cheep plastic based one and the scissor part snapped off the second time I used it. The other was a metal one with a glass chimney. They burn approxiately 20 minutes per inch, I think it was. The coils are extremely pliable and must be smoothed/shaped to straight above the scissor clamp in order for them to burn. They cast very little light, but can create a little ambiance [sp] in a room. I do find them to be a bit of a pain to use. I can't imagine using one of these types of thing for sealing wax. It would to be a clumsy alternative to my torch. Which of course back in the early colonial days, or England/Europe may have seemed like a pleasure over plain ol' candle melting wax.

 

However, they remimd me a bit of the old fashion "courting" lamps that were used in the same time frame as the wax jacks. I've seen them in historical places like old Williamsburg, VA. Father would put a certain amount of oil in a little metel lamp. The oil was measured by the amount of time it would take to burn it up. When a young man came to court his lady fair, the lamp would be lite and when it burnt out, it was time for him to go. Kept dad from having to be a nag about, "When will he ever leave?"

Fair winds and following seas.

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  • 1 year later...
Oldparkerguy

This entire site is incredibly educational.

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These devices are very messy and smoky when left to burn very long.

 

There is a relationship between the size and porosity of the wick, the composition of the wax, and the diameter of the candle that bears upon how the candle burns. For a given wick and wax, too small a candle diameter will cause guttering, smoking, and dripping. Get the diameter right, and the candle will burn the wax at the same rate as it melts, giving a dripless candle. If you increase the diameter beyond that, the candle will alternately drown and flood. Making the candle even larger will cause the flame to eventually just drown.

 

The skinny candle in a wax jack was intended to burn for very short time periods.

Can a calculator understand a cash register?

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