If the incandescent light bulb wasn't commercially available until only a hundred years ago, what did we use for lighting before then? Gas and oil lamps, and of course candles! In fact, the terminology we use today as a unit for measuring the intensity of light from a source is actually called "candlepower" (although more often we use "candela" which is based on candlepower). So, one candlepower is the amount of light created by a single candle!
Although the candle has not evolved much after it's first documented use, it's history dates back thousands of years...
3000 B.C.E to 500 B.C.E
According to the National Candle Association, it was the ancient Egyptians who are the first documented people to use the primitive form of a candle, a rushlight (essentially a miniature torch), about five thousand years ago. They soaked the dried pith of reeds in animal fat and used these devices for general lighting and celebratory rituals. However, it isn't until around 500 BCE, about 2,500 years later in Ancient Rome, that we see evidence of the first true candle, made of both animal fat and a wick.
In Asia, candles are first employed at around 200 BCE. Various recipes are used throughout this continent to make candles.
In China, beeswax or wax from indigenous insects are used and the wicks are made from rolled rice paper. In Japan, wax is created from melting tree nuts. In India, cinnamon is melted down to make the wax.
Across the Pacific Ocean, in North America, the form of a candle takes an entirely different shape. Evidence shows that native peoples used a fatty fish called the Eulachon as a candle by simply stringing it on a wick or by placing the fish on a stick and lighting it. This is so common, that the Eulachon fish becomes known as "candlefish."