In Honor of the Pink Flamingo

In Honor of the Pink Flamingo

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Carolyn Purnell
Jul 7, 2015

Whether you love it or hate it, you're familiar with the plastic lawn flamingo. With its bright pink hue and subtly-smiling countenance, the flamingo has been a prominent feature of American kitsch culture since its creation in 1957. On June 22, Donald Featherstone, the creator of the pink plastic flamingo, died at the age of 79 and we'd like to pay tribute with a bit of history- and a flamingo roundup!

Don Featherstone didn't initially seek to make his fortune in plastic flamingos (although his name was more than suitable for the task). He was a sculptor and painter who trained at the Worcester Art Museum, and upon his graduation, he took a job designing three-dimensional items for Union Products. Over the span of his 43-year career at Union, Featherstone designed hundreds of plastic products but it was one of his early creations, the hot pink flamingo, that found lasting fame.

Featherstone modeled the flamingos after some photographs that he saw in National Geographic. When the items appeared in 1958 (in an era in which pink was quite a trendy hue), the birds' popularity immediately soared, and customers have flocked to them ever since. Millions have been sold. Union Products closed in 2006, but the molds were sold and now the Massachusetts company Cado Products manufactures these brilliant birds.

Personally, I think the originals are delightful, but if they're too kitschy for you, don't be too quick to dismiss the flamingo. In honor of Don, here's a roundup of 10 products that feature these elegant, vibrant, remarkable birds.

Top row:
1. Flamingo wallpaper by Cole & Sons, Wallpaper Direct, $123/roll
2. Flamingo wallpaper by Albany, Wallpaper Direct, $37/roll
3. Pink Flamingo Throw Pillow, Goosi on Society6, $20
4. Flamingo Mingle by Cozamia Art, ImageKind, $31+
5. Flamingo-Shaped Box, Zara Home, $22.90

Bottom row:
6. Flamingos duvet cover, Pushka Studio on Etsy, $129+
7. Lou Rota Flamingo Small Plate, Domino, $28.99
8. Pink Flamingo Pattern Baroque Mirror, Kararui via Deny Designs, $99
9. Painted Plumes Laundry Hamper by imm Living, Enyilu, $57
10. Flamingo Coast Shower Curtain, The Company Store, on sale for $13-$16

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