imitations of flowers, made of various materials. These are not a modern invention. Among the ancients the floral wreaths made by the Egyptians enjoyed as great a reputation as at the present day do the products of American art.
The first artificial flowers made in modern times in civilized countries were manufactured out of many colored ribbons which were twisted together and attached to small pieces of wire. In course of time feathers were substituted for ribbons, a material much more elegant than that previously in use, but one to which it was not so easy to give the requisite shades of color. In former times in the height of the fashionable rage for porcelain, flowers of all kinds were made of that substance and the odor of the real flowers was imitated by means of perfumes.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.