Sculptor Don Featherstone, the creator of the iconic pink flamingo lawn ornament, — but his invention will live on forever. Whether you find the retro decorations to be delightful or tacky, you have to appreciate how they've endured for decades. And some of the lesser-known facts about these pieces of midcentury kitsch might surprise you:
1. They came from Massachusetts, not Florida.
You might think these tropical creatures would hail from a warm-weather state, but not so. They're from Leominster, Massachusetts. In fact, the town has been called the "Plastics Capital of the World" for the number of plastic manufacturers doing business in the area.
2. The creator was just as colorful as the bright pink bird (his most famous work).
This line in Featherstone's caught our eye, regarding the ensembles he and his wife wore: "[..]they wore matching outfits, handmade by Mrs. Featherstone, every day from the late 1970s onward, many of them in flamingo-patterned fabric."
3. The original sculpture wasn't modeled after a real live flamingo.
When Featherstone was assigned to design the lawn ornament in 1956, he turned to a copy of National Geographic for inspiration.
4. They're still made in the U.S. (Though they've moved around a few times.)
Union Products, the original manufacturer, has long since closed, but HHC International purchased the flamingo molds. , the company produced the lawn ornaments in Westmoreland, New York. Then, in 2010, that Cado Products acquired the intellectual rights to the design and moved the production back to Massachusetts.
5. They're in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Two birds from 1980 are part of and are described as "one of the best-known icons of American pop-culture kitsch."
6. They're a key part of an unofficial tradition known as "flocking."
Like the blogger behind demonstrates, flocking involves secretly filling someone's yard with a (or, to be more accurate, a ) to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, or for no other good reason than the fact that it's hilarious. Believe it or not, many companies have popped up to . You really can get anything in America.