Local Candle Maker Is A True American Success Story
Anyone who knows even a little bit about Medina, Ohio, knows that you cannot tell it’s history without talking about the importance of Root Candles. The company was founded in 1869 by Amos Ives (A.I.) Root, a pioneer in beekeeping. He published what is often called, “The Beekeeper’s Bible”, or The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture. (His business was originally dedicated to the production of beekeeping supplies.) Eventually, it moved towards selling honey and then in 1928, The Root Company made its main focus the production of candles made with, what else, beeswax. Today, Root Candles does business all over the world, selling over 20 million candles per year. They are also the largest supplier of liturgical candles for the Catholic Church in the US.
So how did a small local company turn into one of America’s leading candle makers? Ironically, that can be answered by comparing the business to the industrious spirit of the honey bee. The term “busy bee” can certainly be used to describe founder A.I. Root, who discovered his fascination with bees when a swarm of them infested the front window of his jewelry store in downtown Medina in 1865. The official History of Root Candles video on the Root Candles website describes A.I. as an “entrepreneur, innovator, author, publisher, apiarist, envisionary and humanitarian.” The words curious, fascination and passion are also used abundantly when talking about this amazing man. It’s incredible, yet unsurprising, to think that A.I. Root was also close friends with two American icons, Helen Keller and the Wright Brothers. As a matter of fact, Root personally witnessed the first complete circle flown in a heavier-than-air “flying machine” by Wilbur Wright in 1904. His eyewitness account of the event was presented to the Scientific American Magazine for publication, but astonishingly, they declined because they felt that “it did not really happen and, even if it did, it had no commercial value.” Root knew that the event needed to be documented so he took matters into his own hands and published the article himself in his beekeeping magazine, Gleanings in Beekeeping, in 1905. The original copy of the article and the magazine is now on display at the Smithsonian Museum.
Today, Root Candles is an industry-leading, family-owned company renowned for it’s innovative ideas and for producing candles of the the highest quality. The company is now led by Brad Root, who is a fifth generation descendant of the founder. Over the past 150 years, the Root family has continually focused on the values of honesty, integrity, hard work and staying true to the qualities that have made them the producers of “The Best Candles, Made in America Since 1869.” It goes without saying that Medina is proud to call Root Candles their own!