Union Products of Leominster went ahead with production of the 50th anniversary gold-version lawn flamingo. But the factory won't be open much longer.
In 1957, when things "tropical," and "Polynesian," were popular, when even kitchen appliances were available In Living Color, Fitchburger Don Featherstone shaped the phoeniclpteris ruber plasticus (in collectors' circles, called p.r.p) into the lawn bird we know today.
Union Products has fallen into hard times, and will close its plant Nov 1.
Production of the birds (and other unnecessary yard crap) shut down in June. Though Union used to produce a 1/4 million birds per year, and required wholsalers to buy in minimum orders of 500 units, production costs just got to be much, says Chief Exec Dennis Plante.
Sources say that 2 companies have expressed interest in purchasing the molds (standing up bird... head down bird...) complete with Featherstone's signature (the mark of the real deal), but those bids are still open.
No doubt, Union Products' poorly designed website is getting a multitude of hits, from links in articles, not to mention my own dozen visits to it while writing this post. Here, click it a whole bunch of times.
Leominster, MA -- The Pioneer Plastics City -- remains solid despite this loss of kitsch kred. After all, this is the city that survived the departure of Foster Grant and Dupont and the autism cluster they [allegedly] left behind.
The National Plastics Museum will no doubt score a few of those gold flamingos. Perhaps even the Smithsonian will want a few. They could stage a special Central Mass cultural contribution exhibit, including Harvey Ball's smiley face, Tupperware, and Agnes Moorhead.
Next time... Table Talk Pies, which you wouldn't think would need a website. stay tuned.