Tags: donald featherstone | plastic | pink | flamingo | dies

Donald Featherstone, Inventor of Plastic Pink Flamingo, Dies at 79

By    |   Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 11:02 AM

Donald Featherstone, inventor of the iconic pink flamingo lawn ornament, died Monday at the age of 79.

"He was the nicest guy in the world," Nancy Featherstone, his wife, told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "He didn't have a selfish bone in his body. He was funny and had a wonderful sense of humor and he made me so happy for 40 years."

Nancy confirmed that her husband, survived by two children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, died at an elder care facility in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, after experiencing prolonged Lewy body dementia.

"They say there are more plastic Featherstone flamingos in the world than real flamingos," said Bruce Zarozny, president of Cado Products Inc., the Massachusetts-based manufacturer of the Featherstone flamingos. "We still sell thousands of them a year."

Featherstone, who graduated from the school of the Worcester Art Museum in 1957, was just 21 when he took a job with Union Products, a maker of plastic lawn ornaments in the town of Leominster. There, he created a duck ornament before he was assigned the task of creating a flamingo.

He undertook to create not just one, but a pair of flamingos — one upright, one gracefully bowing — out of what was at the time a relatively new material: plastic.

The flamingos were a megahit with consumers, who initially bought them for $2.76-a-pair from outlets like the Sears catalog.

The catalog's instructions, "Place in garden, lawn, to beautify landscape," would in the coming decades be taken up by tens of millions — if not hundreds of millions — of Americans, Europeans, and people the world over.

As The New York Times reported, the pink flamingos came to symbolize suburban American life in particular, and would inspire a number of tributes in the decades to come — from John Waters' eponymous gallows comedy to Disney’s animated feature of 2011, "Gnomeo & Juliet."

Featherstone was known for his unabashed embrace of his invention, and he and his wife wore often-matching outfits featuring flamingos that she handmade from the late 1970s onward.

 


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Donald Featherstone, inventor of the iconic pink flamingo lawn ornament, died Monday at the age of 79.
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Wednesday, 24 Jun 2015 11:02 AM
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