The Man Who Created the Pink Flamingo

When the pink flamingo splashed into the 1950s market, vacationing Americans had been flocking to Florida, so it seemed only logical that someone would come up with a flamingo souvenir. Enter Donald Featherstone. After graduating from the Worcester Art Museum's art school in 1957, he was offered a job designing three-dimensional animals for Union Products, Inc. The plastics industries of the time favored flashy colors, and “sassy pink” was the hottest color of the decade. Washing machines, cars and kitchen counters displayed passion pink, sunset pink, and Bermuda pink. In 1956, Elvis Presley even bought a pink Cadillac. When Featherstone began his creation of flamingos, he wasn’t able to obtain real flamingos to use as models, so he based his creation on photographs of flamingos from National Geographic. In 2006, Union Products closed and production of the flamingos stopped, but it wasn’t long before Cado Products purchased the copyrights and plastic molds for the pink flamingos, and they are continuing to be made today. Featherstone passed away in 2015.