Monday, June 27, 2011

Eye of the Beholder (Day 6)

flamingos

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!”

close up

15 comments:

  1. Cute post! They look quite happy there :-)

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  2. Thanks Lisa! They are so fun to look at too:)

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  3. I never knew the history behind the flamingos - how interesting! I must admit, I always sort of associated the pink flamingos with bad trailer park decor. ;-)

    If you ever get a chance to see the kids' movie "Gnomeo and Juliet", one of the characters is a pink flamingo yard ornament. REALLY cute!

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  4. Me too Melissa! But when my cousin gave me a pair a few years ago I really liked them, and I was sad when they became faded and legless. I just got this new pair last week:)

    I will definitely check out that movie-thanks for telling me about it!

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  5. Well of course you gotta love flamingos in the tropics!

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  6. Kristy-I completely agree! I thought about getting a fake palm tree too...but they cost too much and look like giant feather dusters:) I guess I really just need to move to Hawaii!

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  7. Haha, love these. What a whimsical touch to bring to the garden :)

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  8. Love them! Just got a fresh set of Featherstones myself.

    And the original home of Featherstone's empire? About thirty miles from where I live!

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  9. Aren't they a kick, Joanne! I have to smile when I look at them:)

    C-how cool is that-to live so close to where it all began, and how fun that we both have a new set too!!

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  10. I wonder how collectible these are. Pretty cool.

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  11. Valerie,

    I've seen it all over, especially since I live in Florida, but I never knew the history. Thanks for sharing this.

    Your two look they're very happy in their home:~)

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  12. Sara, Florida would have to be the most perfect setting for pink lawn flamingos:) I'm hoping the wind here doesn't blow mine over!

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  13. I LOVE the unique touches you add to your garden and you know what I'm usually not a fan of the flamingoes but I think the way you have them placed might just have turned me. Love the history!

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  14. Kim-you are such a sweetheart!!

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  15. Tina-I bet the vintage ones a worth a lot! I'd love to see a pair some time.

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