Where Have All Of The Pink (Plastic) Flamingos Gone?


The most famous of all lawn ornaments, the pink flamingo, just may be headed for extinction right before our very eyes. Born in 1957 as the invention from the mind of Don Featherstone, it has literally become a pop culture icon. It even helped him win the Ig Nobel Prize for Art in 1996. Pink Flamingos is even the title and subject of a 1972 movie by John Waters that earned it the stereotype of lawn kitsch. But, in neighborhoods all over the country, they have become harder to find than Bigfoot, so what is the deal for these former homeowner favorites?

There’s Nothing Like The Real Thing

While any people have tried to imitate the over the years, the original and “official” pink lawn flamingo was made by Union Products, the company that Mr. Featherstone was an employee of when he came up with this brilliant idea. You will know if you have the real deal if you find the signature of Mr. Featherstone on the underside of the flamingo. These original flamingos were sold in pairs. And you can tell if they are the real thing since one of the flamingos stands in an upright position, while the other has its head rather low to the ground, and you have to assume he is eating something.

The Beginning Of The End For The Pink Flamingo

After the year 2001, Union Products began to sell them without the signature of Mr. Featherstone, but not everyone liked this move. After some protest, Union Products stopped the production of their line of pink flamingos in late 2006. This partly explains why pink flamingos have rarely been seen in the past few years. But people who were predicting extinction with this move were not completely right.

In 2007, HMC International purchased the copyright as well as the original molds used to make pink flamingos for decades. Production was moved to their plant in Massachusetts and production resumed. But all was not well for the pink flamingo as sales have not approached former levels and to make things even worse for this pop culture icon, some homeowner associations have banned them from their neighborhoods. If that is not bad enough,they back up those threats with fines for people who dare place them in their lawns. The reasoning behind this move was that they lower the property values for everyone. Seems there is just no respect anymore for these icons of pop culture.

The Epitaph Of The Pink Flamingo

For all of you pink flamingo lovers, and we know you’re out there somewhere, all is not lost. You can still find them in garage sales and antique stores, and some new ones can still be found if you look in the right places. Think Google if you will. And when you find a pair of these icons from years past, you can proudly set them up in your front yard for all to see and admire. So it seems reports of the extinction of this American icon were premature after all?