Revolution screw ups: Candle power

Before we had light bulbs the world mostly shut down at night. People would quickly go back to that type of schedule.

In an effort to impress us on how much things have changed since the black out, they use lit candles everywhere.  If you have ever been in a real blackout that lasts more than a few hours you know that you want to put out the candles to save them.  They would be a critical resource since paraffin wax is made from oil.  The candles shown so far in the show are almost entirely manufactured candles and are not made of bees wax.

In the bar/card room scene in the second episode, they have more than a dozen candles lit in the daytime.  Some of them are mounted in  chandeliers which have tinted glass in them and would be a pain to reload when the candle burned down. Candels would be kept low to allow easy replacement, blown out during the day, and likely would have foil reflectors behind them to reflect the light. Tinted glass would not be used because it reduces the amount of light.

People would mainly use oil lamps and especially lamps that burn fat.  They would also put them out during the day so as not to waste them.  I would expect 15 years into the blackout that the cost of candle wax would be greater per ounce than gold.  It would be used for medical purposes, sealing and preserving food and other things where substitutes would be harder to find.

We do see kerosene/oil lanterns in various places. These you would see everywhere because fuel could be made locally by distilling coal, wood, and other materials.

Another type of light you would see is gas lamps.  The gas burned is called “Town Gas.” This is an old technology where gas is produced by the heating of coal or wood in a closed container. It was very common prior to the advent of natural gas pipelines.

There is a scene in “The Plague Dogs” where Miles is using a torch for lighting as they travel at night.  No explanation of where he obtained the standard Hollywood manufactured torch.  Looking at the amount of fire coming off the torch you can tell it would only last at most 15 minutes before running out of fuel or burning through the wooden stick handle.

Would a reasonable person do this?  Traveling across country at night with a large lit object which could be seen for miles does not sound like a good idea if you are in hiding.  The light is thrown in all directions so it hurts the night vision of the person carrying the torch.   A lantern made from a discarded can and some wire would work much better.

After 15 years of doing without, these folks would be experts.  We would learn things by watching them.  I expect the writers of the show to spend some time camping or at least thinking before they film the scenes.


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