Donald Featherstone, the artist who created the pink flamingo lawn ornament, died recently.
After graduating from art school at the Worcester Art Museum, he designed the pink flamingo in 1957, shortly after starting work at Union Products in Leominster, Massachusetts.
Based on the Real Thing
Featherstone based his flamingo design on photographs of real flamingos he found in National Geographic magazines. As his flamingo design took the world by storm, copycats arose.
To help consumers know they were getting the ‘real pink flamingo’, Featherstone added his signature to the mold in 1987. His signature remained on all official Union Products flamingos for fourteen years.
Pink Flamingo Trivia
The pink flamingo was only one of 750 products that Donald Featherstone created for the company.
Some other interesting bits about this iconic lawn decoration:
- Sears originally sold the pink flamingos for $2.76 a pair
- In 2006, Union Products shut down production of the original pink flamingo figures, citing rising electricity and plastic resin costs
- Cado Products bought the rights to the original pink flamingo mold in 2010, and now sells the decorations in sets of two
- The flamingos are often sold in a pair, with one flamingo standing erect (nearly three feet tall) and the other bent over, as if looking for food
- Featherstone originally sculpted the molds for the flamingos out of clay
While you may never have heard of Donald Featherstone, his contributions to lawn decorations didn’t go unrecognized during his lifetime. In 1996, he received the Ig Nobel Prize, a parody of the Nobel Prize.
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