Wordwind's "sharpened gods" when talking about beans, reminded me of bean "pods", and "sharpened" reminded me of taper. It occurred to me that I didn't know etymology of "taper" so I looked it up, and got another surprise.
5ME < OE tapur, prob. by dissimilation < L papyrus (see PAPER): from use of papyrus pith as wick6
1 a wax candle, esp. a long, slender one
2 a long wick coated with wax, used for lighting candles, lamps, etc.
3 any feeble light
4 a) a gradual decrease in width or thickness !the taper of a pyramid" b) a gradual decrease in action, power, etc.
5 something that tapers
gradually decreased in breadth or thickness toward one end
1 to decrease gradually in width or thickness
2 to lessen; diminish
1 to become smaller gradually toward one end
2 to diminish or stop gradually
Great Jehosaphat! taper from dissimilation of paper?
Incidentally, candles used to be made by repeatedly dipping the wick into melted wax. The top had more time to cool than the bottom, so more wax was deposited at top, giving the shape we now call taper. I have made candles from wax obtained from honey combs. There is a trick to making wick curl in flame, so that the end is burned away, and little or no soot is formed. I think it was just pulling out one strand of the twisted fibres of the wick before dipping it.
But my efforts to reproduce this feature didn't work. Anybody know the secret to make it work? A smoking candle is a damned nuisance. Of course, I'll be surprised if any member has any interest in this.