Beeswax has a very rich history, with a far wider range of uses than any other bee product. In the past, beeswax was especially valued for candles, because it has a higher melting point than many other waxes, and so the candles remain upright in hot weather. Beeswax was also used for modeling and for casting. Some of the world's finest bronze statues and gold ornaments have been made by the lost-wax process, in which a beeswax model is made and encased in mud or plaster that is allowed to dry; the whole is then heated, the molten wax allowed to escape, and molten metal poured in. The metal solidifies in the exact shape of the original beeswax cast, and the casing material is then broken away.
In the batik method of dyeing cloth, and in etching on a glass or metal surface, beeswax can be used as a "resist," applied to certain areas of a surface to protect them from reaction during a subsequent process.
One of the most important current uses of beeswax is in ointments, emollient skin creams, and lotions. It also is still used in polishes and other protective coatings, and as a lubricant in the armament and other industries. Its dielectric properties have led to its use in electrical engineering.
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