NYC's Last Flower Makers Explain the Victorian Craft of Artificial Flower Production

Thanks! Share it with your friends!


Super special thanks to Adam Brand and M&S Schmalberg for agreeing to be the subject of this feature! Adam has very kindly set up a discount link to the M&S Schmalberg Etsy shop for us, good for 20% off through 6 February, 2021. Use the code ‘HISTORY’ at checkout!
To enquire about a custom flower order:

No part of this video was sponsored by, paid for, product gifted or discounted by M&S Schmalberg. Full price was paid for the product commissioned.

Special thanks to Adam, Lucia, Alex, Alvaro, Silvana, and Carmen for all your work!

Also incredible thanks to Egyptologist Dr Colleen Darnell (@Vintage Egyptologist ) for very kindly consulting on the ancient Egyptian flower tidbit. She has a fascinating channel on all things ancient Egypt:

[1] “Headband with Heads of Gazelles and a Stag Between Stars or Flowers” ca. 1648–1540 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
[2] “Floral collar from Tutankhamun’s Embalming Cache” ca. 1336–1327 B.C. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
[3] US census record for 1910.
Footage of original flower making techniques: Bloor, Thomas, director. “Last of the Flowermakers”, 1997.
For flower pattern diagrams: de Laëre, Mme. L., “La Fleuriste des salons”. Paris, N.d. Digital copy:
For background on the prevalence of the artificial flower making trade in London, particularly amongst children: “Reports from Committees”, Volume 20. Parliament, House of Commons, Great Britain. 1865. Digital copy: flower making children&pg=PA109#v=onepage&q&f=false
Some general reference to artificial flower use in the 19th century: Seaton, Beverly, “The Language of Flowers”. University of Virginia Press, Virginia. October, 2012.
A comprehensive survey of the artificial flower making trade in New York City, 1913, featuring a comparison of the industry in Paris: Van Kleeck, Mary. “Artificial Flower Makers”. The Russell Sage Foundation, New York, 1913. Digital copy: Kleek_Artificial_Flower_Makers.pdf
Overview of the artificial flower making trade in London:
For image of original M&S Schmalberg location: “A street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue in the Garment District in Manhattan on Nov. 29, 1943.” AP Photo.

Portals to Other Realms:

Instagram, for real-time progress: (@bernadettebanner)
Patreon, for more vloggish and bloggish content:
Prints & merch of design sketches:
For ***BUSINESS ENQUIRIES*** please contact my representation at:
(BUSINESS-RELATED correspondence is handled here. Messages do not reach me directly.)
Due to current ongoing project commitments, requests for dressmaking commissions, individual research or project consultation are not considered at this time.

*The term “Victorian” is used in the title for search engine optimisation and distribution purposes; the term is not technically accurate in reference to early 20th century New York.