Plastic pink flamingos are very tacky but also very cool. It is one of those lawn ornaments that are very much associated with American iconic kitsch. The pink flamingo has been around about sixty years and ever since they were invented there has always been debate about whether or not they were eyesores.
Pink Flamingos were originally made by a company called Union Products that started making them in 1946. It was part of their “Plastics for the Lawn” series. The company did not just make flamingos. They also made ducks, dogs and frogs. These first flamingos were not three dimensional. They were more like “signs” with flamingos painted on them.
In 1956 a company in Massachusetts called the Leominster hired a designer named Don Featherstone who figured out how to make the figurines into three dimensional free standing sculptures. The flamingos were based on figures found in photos in National Geographic. The original legs were wooden but when they proved to be too expensive they were replaced by metal legs. They were very popular ornaments in the 1950s and today, whether fixed in your garden or on your wall as an object of art, they are considered to be part of retro-chic.
One of characteristics of the pink flamingo is that it is hot pink. Lurid colors were popular in the fifties but there was a reaction against plastics and false things in the sixties that made the pink flamingos less popular.
Decorating with them me simple and nowadays they are easy to get through mail order and in stores. If you want an authentic Flamingo buy one that has Don Featherstone’s signature impressed under the tail. A true pink flamingo has a yellow beak with a black tip and authentic flamingo sets are sold in twos. The pair should include one with a long neck and one with a shorter neck. The legs should be wire. If you are buying a single flamingo or one with an orange beak or wooden leg you are not buying the official antique.
When it comes to Pink Flamingos just two will do. However quite a unique effect can be created by decorating your yard with an entire flock of them. You can also put them on your condo or apartment balcony. Pink flamingos also make a humorous statement at the office.
Some people like to dress up their pink Flamingos for the season. They dress them up in Santa Suits and also give them Reindeer Horns.