Last fall, I wrote a lament for Union Products of Leominster, Massachusetts. After 50 years of manufacturing what were by all accounts the world's best plastic lawn flamingos, Union closed its doors, and (sniff, sniff) the last of the Union flamingos flew into the sunset.
There is seldom much happy news on the American manufacturing front, but the Associated Press has reported (in the June 1 Boston Globe) that HMC International of Westmoreland, NY, has picked up the copyright and the plastic molds for the world's best plastic lawn flamingos, and will be going into production mode by early fall.
I, myself, do not have a personal yard, and I don't imagine that the taste police at the Beacon Hill Civic Association would be anywhere near delighted if I was to plunk a few down in the small garden area in front of my historic, Civil War era granite building. Not to mention that I live on a busy street (just down from the still well visited "Cheers Bar"). If thieves are willing to rip off, as they've done on occasion, the permanently cemented Make Way for Ducklings statues from the Public Garden just across the street... If thieves are willing to steal copper medallions on monuments over by the Hatch Shell on the Charles River...I don't suppose that there'd be much to prevent someone from reaching into our little garden plot and plucking out a plastic flamingo - secured only by embedding the tips of its wire legs in the cedar chips. Not that the payoff would be as great as lifting something of real monetary value. On the other hand, a casual, just a bit tipsy jokester might not have any qualms about lifting a plastic flamingo, either.
So, I'm no more inclined to purchase one made by HMC International than I was to purchase one made by Union Products.
Still, it is heartening to see that these flamingos taken off the endangered species list.
Yes, there remained on the market less well-crafted versions, but the head of HMC has stated that "none can hold a candle to the quality and detail [Don Featherstone, who designed the Union flamingo] created."
For those who next spring feel that they may be in the market for a pink flamingo, look for the HMC International label. (Although the article mentioned HMC International, the flamingos are going to be manufactured, quite fittingly I think, by a company that makes artificial flowers and real flower preservative, among other things.)
Accept no substitutes.
These flamingos will be the real thing.
Bonus points that they're made in the good old U.S. of A.