Monday, October 30, 2006
The Demise Of An Entire Species
The original version of the plastic flamingo may be singing its swan song after inspiring countless pranks - and being alternately celebrated as a tribute to one of nature's most graceful creatures and derided as the epitome of American pop culture kitsch.
Union Products Inc. stopped producing flamingos and other lawn ornaments at its Leominster factory in June, and is going out of business Wednesday - a victim of rising expenses for plastic resin and electricity, as well as financing problems.
The small privately held firm has been in talks with a pair of rival lawn ornament makers interested in buying the molds and resuming production of the flamingos, designed in 1957 by local son Don Featherstone.
"We think the flamingo will go on," Keith Marshall, Union Products' chief financial officer, said at the company's aging brick factory, where just a few years ago more than 100 employees churned out flamingos by the millions.