Pink Flamingo Lawn Ornament

Pink Flamingo Lawn Ornament

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This vintage pair of Don Featherstone models of Pink Flamingos (ca. 1980) were made from the original molds with a signature for Featherstone added to the mold. They were made by the company that bought out Union products, the flamingoes’ original manufacturer. They each measure about 14" x 8.5" not including the stakes (or metal legs). They have the raised plastic eyes that look real as compared to the painted eyes. They have been displayed, but they still have great color.
The original flamingoes were made of polystyrene, with painted eyes. The polystyrene became brittle after time, and though the vintage birds are highly valued, they were also inclined to crack, especially around the legs where the stakes, usually metal rods, were installed. The generations after were made of polyethelene and are the bright pink (and stable) color with which we associate the birds. The styrene models were a lighter pink to begin with and they faded badly over time in the sun.
Designed for Union Products by the artist, Don Featherstone, in 1957, the pink, molded-plastic bird added a festive tropical flavor to suburban front and backyards and to urban frontage as well. Over time, the pink flamingo—satirized in popular films and memorialized in university student pranks—evolved from simple lawn ornament, an embodiment of American backyard culture, into one of the best-known icons of American pop-culture kitsch. Sold by the pair in the millions, today pink flamingos can be found in hardware stores and art museum gift shops alike.
Don Featherstone’s book, The Original Pink Flamingo: Splendor in the Grass, tracks the much loved yard art from its birth to the cultural phenomenon they became.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pink flamingo
date made
ca 1980
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
overall: 14 in x 15 1/2 in x 4 in; 35.56 cm x 39.37 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Food Culture
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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"Please also see my book: The Flamingo in the Garden: American Yard Art and the Vernacular Landscape, 1998. Garland Press. It is out of print but available in many libraries. I hope the Smithsonian has a copy!Colleen Sheehy, Minneapolis, MN"

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