TORCH (O. Fr. torche, from Med. Lat. lorlia, derived from tortus, twisted, torquere, to twist), a light or illuminant that can be carried in the hand, made of twisted tow, hemp or other inflammable substance. Torches or " links " were, till the general introduction of street lighting, necessary adjuncts for passengers on foot or in carriages in towns at night, and many of the older houses in London and elsewhere still retain the iron stands outside their doors, in which the torches might be placed.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)