Psychologically, this technical innovation was extremely significant. Seeing a flame burning around an almost imperceptible wick is a very different experience from seeing a flame flickering around a log or a torch. The log or the torch are physically consumed by the process of burning, but the flame burns around the wick without any visible sign of destruction. The wick remains unchanged (merely requiring to be “trimmed” from time to time, and even that was unnecessary by the beginning of the 19th century), and it is only the fuel feeding it that diminishes. But this takes place at a rate so slow that an observer can perceive it only over a relatively long period of time. In the torch, people experienced the elemental, destructive power of fire – a reflection of their own still-untamed drives. In the candle flame, burning steadily and quietly, fire had become as pacified and regulated as the culture that it illuminated.
-Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century, pg. 6