It is alleged that at one time it was possible to burn the candle at both ends because candles and rushlights were sometimes held horizontally in pincers or brackets that allowed both ends to be lit simultaneously. To do so was said to be a sign of extravagance. Interestingly I cannot find any pictures of such a wall bracket or pincers but the same story appears in a number of places.
Nowadays, the term is used of someone who exhausts their energy by getting up early and staying up late. I could find plenty of pictures of folk who do that!
Massive Wirral explosion
20 hours ago