In the 1840’s, paraffin began to be produced in quantity as a by-product of the petroleum industry, and ladies soon discovered that they could preserve fresh flowers and leaves by coating them with this inexpensive substance (hmmm, the beginnings of the petroleum addiction?). Bridal bouquets and funeral wreaths, wax-dipped and glass-covered, were favorite parlor decorations of the “Age of Sentiment,” cherished for the memories they evoked. (Info from Making Gifts from Oddments and Outdoor Materials by Betsey B. Creekmore)
In the tradition of the Victorian waxed flower bouquets the Little Ladies and I had to try this method of preservation out! We picked all different types of flowers and leaves to see which would work best. The feverfew, daisy and echinacea did not work very well at all; you need more thick fleshy type petals that can withstand the hot wax.