Donald Featherstone, the man who brought plastic pink flamingos to millions of suburban lawns, has died. He was 79.
In 1957, after graduating from art school in Massachusetts, Featherstone took a job designing 3D animals for Union Products.
One of his early jobs was to carve a duck. He bought a duck to study it, and released it some time after, but the carving made enough of an impression on management that they asked Featherstone for a flamingo.
Not being able to get a real flamingo, Geatherstone based his on pictures from National Geographic magazines. It went on sale the next year and after a slow start, eventually grew to rival garden gnomes as the most popular lawn decoration in the US.
Featherstone was the epitome of the loyal employee. He stayed with Union Products and was eventually made president in 1996, nearly 40 years after he created its most iconic product.
That same year, he was awarded an Ig Nobel Art Prize for his contribution to society.
In 1987, Featherstone began adding his signature to them right up to his retirement in 2000, examples of which are now considered collectors’ items. He kept 57 plastic flamingos on his own front lawn.
Featherstone died of Lewy body disease on June 22.
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