Rushlight Awards

Rush Light Nips first appeared in the early 18th century and were designed as a candlestick substitute. With the introduction of a Candle Tax in 1709, rushes became the cheaper alternative.  Rushes (seaves) were gathered in late summer or autumn and peeled so that only a narrow strip of the peel to support the pith remained. The rushes were then drawn (in a gresset) through scalding animal fat until saturated and then hardened off for use when cool.  The rush would be held between the plier like jaws of the rushlight holder or rushnip. (A rush stand was originally made by splitting a stick and in fact this sort of rush stand was in use right up to the time when the farmers gave up making their own.)  Finally, an end would be lit and, voila, a seriously cheap and renewable source of light was created.