Union Products Blow Mold Decorations – History and Care

November 14th, 2009

Union Featherstone Blow Mold Turkey

I have a blow mold lawn ornament made by Union Products on Ebay right now, From the 1950s until a few years ago, the company was a leader in the brightly colored decorations that are a fun, guilty pleasure for many.

Prior to 1956, Union Products created two dimensional lawn ornaments. In seeking to expand its business, the company hired Don Featherstone, a graduate of the Worcester Art Museum’s art school, to sculpt their new 3-D line.

Featherstone’s first effort was a duck, created in the image of a real bird named Charlie.  His second effort became an American classic.

Featherstone’s pink flamingo was embraced by America’s mid century housewives looking to bring happy homeware to interiors and exteriors of their homes. When the Miami Vice TV show came out in the 1980s flamingos roared back to popularity. That said, flamingo diehards never did stop buying them. The Featherstone flamingo reamained in production until Union Products closed its doors in 2006.

From a foundation built on a flamingo, Featherstone created approximately 750 other whimsical characters. Almost as well known as the flamingo are his light up holiday decorations including Santas, elves and turkeys.

As with many of his creations my Ebay turkey is signed by Don Featherstone. He began the practice when knockoff flamingos began flooding the market. The turkey is one of Featherstone’s later creations from the 1994.

Today, Union Products blow molds are highly collectible as are blow molds from other companies.

With Christmas just around the corner I thought you’d enjoy some other plastic fantastic blow mold eye candy. The beauties below come courtesy of my friend’s mom, Barbara, who has over 50 in her collection.

While blow molds are robust lawn ornaments, the paint is a well known weak spot. It rubs off the plastic if you look sidewise at it. Storing one piece against another can cause a paint rub as can cleaning or age. Barbara suggests cleaning gently wiith a water moistened paper towel, but only if you must.

She also built a storage space where her blow molds can stand upright without touching. Her other trick is to keep them in their original boxes whenever possible.

If you can’t box them or create a special storage space, remember that scratches and paint rubs are the norm. Blow molds can be repainted if they are in really bad shape. Barbara spray painted some of her oldest pieces that had bleached white with age.

Happy blow molding everyone!

Blown Mold Choir Blow Mold Christmas Decoration

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    11 Responses

  1. tree411 says:

    Love the blow molds…

  2. admin says:

    They are cool, aren’t they. The owner of the Christmas blow molds is the holiday decorations lady of her neighborhood.

  3. AMY KOLAKOVICH says:

    LOOKING FOR A LIGHT UP TURKEY TO ADD TO MY HOLIDAY COLLECTIONS!! I WANT ONE LIKE THE ONE ON OUR WEBSITE. ANY FOR SALE OR ANY TIPS? PLEASE AND THANKS AMY

  4. Adrian Hurd says:

    Hello,
    Yes they are. I like the vintage Halloween blow molds the best, especially the Don Featherstone
    witches head and the witch in flight!
    Adrian

  5. admin says:

    Welcome Adrian! I don’t have those great ones in my collection right now, but ironically I just found an Empire ghost with the pumpkin and cat this weekend. I really… must… stop. :-)

  6. admin says:

    Hi Amy! Like I said when we touched base, vintage dealers like myself sometimes will find one, or there is Ebay or Craigslist. Hope you were the one that scooped up the Ebay turkey I flagged for you.

  7. Adrian Hurd says:

    Hi Jessica,
    You know you won’t be able to stop! As you probably already know, when it comes
    to the Empire Halloween blow molds, they were produced from 1967 to 1978. After that they
    still said Empire but with the Tarboro Inc. logo below it. ( Carolina Enterprises Inc. ) So never be
    afraid to ask the seller what’s written on the blow mold.

    Take Care, Adrian

  8. Penn Polly Vintage says:

    Thanks Adrian. Yup, the ghost is definitely one of the newer ones. I have always ended up finding my blow molds in person, whether they were going to my collection or the store. That said, I always advise that buyers should expect professional sellers to include pictures of relevant logos, tags, etc. if they are buying any products online. It can be an indication of a seller’s customer service ethic or attempt to omit relevant info if he or she doesn’t include it. But if buyers are acquiring something via a personal sale, they should definitely insist on clear pictures that show logos, paint wear spots, etc. or walk away.

  9. Randy says:

    Blow Molds are one of my Favorite Things!
    I collect All of them!

  10. Penn Polly Vintage says:

    Hi Randy! Also great to meet another blow mold collector! What are your favorites?

  11. Randy says:

    I collect all kinds my Favorite are reindeer

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