Sealing wax?

What is Mick talking about here?

“And your father’s still perfecting ways of making sealing wax.”*

Why is her father trying to make sealing wax and what the heck was he going to do with it once he perfected the making of it?


If this is better in Cafe Society, please move it. I’m just trying to get a definitive answer here.)

Seal letters shut. Before envelopes were pre-gummed, a dollop of sealing way was used to close correspondence.

Before envelopes, letters were simply folded in thirds and held shut by dripping some wax on the edge. Typically the wax would be stamped with a logo or signature ring which is why such an emblem is called a seal.

I take it to mean that the father is too busy doing some project to pay attention to his kid. Sealing wax is the stuff they used to put on letters and stamp so they could tell if it had been opened. It’s been used for hundreds of years so not only is he too busy for the kid, he’s busy doing something pointless as well.

Or, was it “ceiling wax.” How many times do you have to wax the ceiling?

“The time has come,” the walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax,
Of cabbages and kings.”

I always assumed that the father had made millions as a sealing wax manufacturer. It makes sense that he might want to work on tweaking the process of making the stuff. People did used to buy sealing wax back in those days. My father always had a couple of sticks in the desk drawer (although I can’t remember ever seeing him actually use it for anything). Why Mick (or Keith) chose this to put in the song though, I can’t imagine.

For those of us who don’t recognize every song lyric in existence, this is from “19th Nervous Breakdown” by the Rolling Stones. Perfecting sealing wax would be pointless, even back in the 1960’s. Nobody used it anymore. The idea is that the father is doing something ridiculous. As in most such songs, it’s probably not a good idea to overanalyze the lyrics. It’s supposed to be Mick talking to a girl that’s he’s interested in but that he knows is too crazy to get involved with. The weirdness of her father is one of the things that have messed her up.

I have a very nice Aladine sealing wax stamp that I use to seal very special letters. It lends a touch of old-fashioned class that one doesn’t see every day.

Sealing wax had a resurgence in the 60s as part of the hippy scene. I saw it frequently in head shops and other ‘altenative’ retail outlets. The candles were available in different colors and there were a variety of stamps.

Little Jackie Paper
Loved that rascal Puff
And brought him strings and sealing wax
And other fancy stuff.

Again from the sixties
I always thought that Puff the magic dragon was a drug reference but never bothered to check it out.

I didn’t think of it as ridiculous, but rather as out of touch.
The father is so out of touch, he is still trying to perfect sealing wax.

Yeah, I saw it around back then, too. Mostly the sealing wax was in sticks with wicks in it. It’s still available that way, if you’re interested. There’s also some regular sealing wax (no wicks) for sale, some medallions of sealing wax where you place the disc of wax wherever you want it, heat it with a heat gun, and then make the impression. And then there’s glue gun seals…various colors of glue sticks are used in a glue gun, and again the seal is applied to the still-warm glue.

Some people still wear signet rings with their family’s coat of arms. These are expressly made for the purpose of creating seals.

Wicks are for candles, not sealing wax. At least not any sealing was that I have ever used.

Back to the OP: What other words rhyming with “tax” can you think of?

There are other uses for sealing wax. I’ve been growing mushrooms. For some species, the best way is to colonize wooden dowels with mushroom mycelium. Tree stumps of the appropriate species are drilled with dozens of holes. The dowels are pounded into the holes. The top of the hole is coated with sealing wax. In a year or so, mushrooms!

Sold by he pound here. AKA cheese wax.

I’ve seen sealing wax sticks where you light the wick to let the wax drip onto whatever paper you want sealed.

Not according to Pete Yarrow, who wrote the song and vehemently denies any message other than “the obvious one” – loss of innocence.

Which is hard to argue against, especially since the “loss of innocence” is a very clear narrative, while the “drug references” are just random words, many of which are not really drug references at all.

Personally, I don’t like sealing wax with wicks, but it was sold back then, and it’s still being sold today. Sealing wax with a wick in it is easier to use than using a melting spoon, or holding a stick of wax near a flame until it softens just enough to use.

For years and years I always thought ceiling wax was something they applied in the UK.