History of Wax - Science
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Wax

Bees make wax as part of their normal lives.

People have probably been using beeswax for as long as they have been collecting honey from beehives, which is as long as there have been people alive. In the ancient world, where there was no plastic or any other kind of petroleum or rubber, people used beeswax for all kinds of things.

People also used beeswax in medicine - to fill cavities in teeth.

Artists mixed beeswax with colors to make paint, and they painted with this wax on wooden tablets. Coating wooden tablets with wax also made a very common writing surface for temporary records, much cheaper than papyrus or parchment.

People also used wax to seal letters and baskets closed, so they would know if anyone had opened them.

Medieval uses of wax: as candles.

Bees
Arthropods
Honey
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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