From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Plastic Flamingos' Swan Song

Some Interesting News...



Plastic FlamingoIt's the end of an era. The little factory in Leominster, Massachusetts, where the pink plastic flamingo was invented in 1957 has come upon hard times and is going out of business.

If you own one of these birds, you should check whether it was made by Union Products, Inc. If it's a Union Products flamingo, it will probably become highly collectible, and perhaps you should even keep it safe from thieves!

Union Products Inc. stopped producing flamingos and other lawn ornaments at its Leominster factory in June, and is going out of business Nov. 1 — a victim of rising expenses for plastic resin and electricity, as well financing problems.

The small privately held firm has been in talks with a pair of rival lawn ornament makers interested in buying the molds and resuming production of the flamingos, designed in 1957 by local son Don Featherstone.

"We think the flamingo will go on," Keith Marshall, Union Products' chief financial officer, said at the company's aging brick factory, where just a few years ago more than 100 employees churned out flamingos by the millions.

Quoted from "Pink plastic flamingo faces extinction"
Associated Press by Mark Jewell
Sun Oct 29, 2006

I have never owned a pink plastic flamingo, but I find them mildly amusing. Someone along Country Club Lane in Hopkinsville has a flock of them. They move around on the lawn. It's kind of interesting to see where they'll be next. I'm sure they do most of their moving when it's time to mow the grass.

Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, paid tribute to the infamous bird that has been immortalized everywhere -- from the John Waters' movie Pink Flamingos, to bachelor parties and lawns across America.

"Let's face it," he said. "As iconic emblems of kitsch, there are two pillars of cheesy, campiness in the American pantheon. One is the velvet Elvis. The other is the pink flamingo."

Quoted from "RIP: Pink Flamingo, 1957-2006"
South Florida Sun Sentinel by Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub
October 20 2006


Personally, I would so much rather have a pink plastic flamingo than a velvet Elvis.

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More about pink plastic flamingos:
JaneyZee's Flamingo Pages: The Pretty Pink Plastic Flamingo
Pink Flamingos: So Tacky Yet So Cool

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3 comments:

Limey said...

It's always sad to to see a long established company closing - no matter what the product. Pink flamingos are an especially American phenomenon as I have never seen one in europe (probably too cold). I would think that now would be a good time for some entrepreneur to come up with something that would take off (sic) as well as the flamingo.

Pondering Pig said...

I know! How about garden gnomes! Or fat ladies bending over while wearing polka dotted underwear! I think either one might be a hit. As long as nobody starts stealing them and sending postcards of them waving from the Golden Gate Bridge!

Genevieve said...

Garden gnomes were certainly popular in Germany in the late 80's. I suppose they made a strong showing in gardens across Europe. If they were popular in the U.S. before that time, then I was unaware of it.

Around here, one lawn ornament that I just can't stand is the kissing Dutch kids (Image|Site.) The link shows some that are apparently cut from plywood, but they also appear in concrete and ceramic. Another one I'm tired of is the leaning cowboy (Image|Site.)

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