Well its a fair question but not one that occured until a conversation with quilting friends. I'd guessed it to have been the 1950's - but the truth reveals just what a baby I am in braiding knowledge. Its of my great grandmother's generation. Back in 1886 they were crocheting on to ric rac. I see the possibility, have inherited some incredibly fine steel crochet needles - but I still wouldn't want to attempt it.
Of course the question came up because of using ric rac in my current quilt.