Lawn flamingos. Most people either love them or hate them. I belong to the first camp. Just last week I got my second pair, to replace ones I’d had so long that their legs were missing and they’d turned from deep pink to almost white. As I searched for replacements, I was curious about the history behind these iconic birds.
In 1946, a company by the name of Union Products created a line of “Plastics for the Lawn,” filling a need for post war Americans eager to settle back into home life, and cultivate attractive yards and gardens. There was just one problem with the collection of lawn animals-including ducks, frogs, dogs-and flamingos. They were only two dimensional. In 1957, Don Featherstone, an employee of Union Products was asked to redesign the flamingo. Using pictures from National Geographic magazine to guide him, he created the pink lawn flamingo we know today.
Since 1957, lawn flamingos have seen their popularity rise and fall-and rise again. Today, if a person-like myself-is in the market for a set, there are many choices, including the original Don Featherstone design and a whole flock of imitations-in colors other than pink, too.
I found the perfect spot for my new flamingos, among some lamb’s ear in one of my flower beds. I like to sit on a garden bench and admire their plastic beauty, marveling at their graceful lines and bright colors. And I can’t help thinking to myself,
“Well done, Mr. Featherstone!”