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!