The type of lighting a family used in the 1800s was influenced by their financial situation. Rushlights (rushes dipped in drippings or grease) were used by the poor and the frugal because they could be made for free and avoided the tax on candles. Tallow candles were used by the better heeled. The truly rich used beeswax candles because they burned cleaner, were less odorous, and did not require frequent wick trimming.
– source: What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool