C. Carey Cloud

C. Carey Cloud » Articles » Year Round Santa Claus

Year Round Santa Claus
by Ralph L. Brooks
Indianapolis Sunday Star Magazine
October 29, 1950

Cloud grins, too, when he recalls that he has seen many big business executives get a "kick" out of monkeying with gadgets.

If you were called upon to classify C. Carey Cloud you might have a little trouble. He is certainly not the popular conception of an artist; certainly not a typical business man.

Cloud is a native Hoosier, born on a farm near Marion. He began his career as a staff cartoonist on the Cleveland Press, went to Chicago as an illustrator for Red Book magazine, then did illustrating for pulp magazines, wound up as an art director for a calendar manufacturing firm. He got into the gadget business by the side door.

Purely on a basis of appearance, age or voice there certainly is not even the most flimsy basis for a comparison between C. Carey Cloud and Santa Claus. But you just can't help thinking of the two, as you might say, in the same breath, when you consider that last year alone Cloud provided American youngsters with no less than 3,750,000 hours of play. Only the most fantastic astronomical figures would tell the story of the child-hours of entertainment he has made possible during the past 16 years.

Cloud, whose home is near Nashville in Brown County, is a gadget creator and manufacturer. And American youngsters dearly love gadgets. So, also, in Cloud's opinion, do American adults. "We are," he says, "gadget minded."

An artist of widely recognized ability, lie turned his ingenuity and talents to gadget creating back in 1934. He has been at it consistently ever since. But he still finds time to turn out an occasional painting.

Cloud's estimate of the number of play hours he has provided is based upon the modest assumption that one child played with each one of his gadgets for only five minutes. You couldn't ask for a more conservative estimate than that. To save wear and tear on your mathematical skill, Cloud turned out 45,000,000 gadgets last year. That 45,000,000, incidentally, included 22,000,000 whistles. And 22,000,000 whistles makes seven full-sized boxcar loads - and an incredible amount of noise.

Creating even the simplest gadget isn't a simple process, Cloud will tell you. First he has to get an idea, then solve the mechanical problems involved, draw diagrams, then make the dies or molds, or whatever other device is needed, then find a contractor to turn out the finished products in lots that invariably run into the millions. To show you how difficult it sometimes is to make a successful gadget, Cloud recalls the trouble he had with a paper whistle. He turned out a whistle that was perfection itself, except that it wouldn't whistle. He took his problem to the experts of the Hammond organ manufacturing people who figured out what to do to make the whistle whistle.

Up until the first of this month Cloud did a sizable part of his own manufacturing in a little gadget factory at Morgantown, near the Brown-Morgan County line. But he has decided now to contract all his work and close the Morgantown shop. His shop was responsible for the Morgantown Postoffice being raised from a third to a second- class rating.

Commercially, gadgets are designed to stimulate somebody else's business. Parents will buy a certain breakfast food, or confection, or other packaged item so Johnny or Susie can have the little free toy that is hidden somewhere in the box. Or perhaps they will buy enough of a product so they can send in a certain number of box tops for gadget prizes.

That's the idea commercially and that's why Cloud is in business. But there still remains the fact that this shy, slightly gray artist is a Santa Claus who has lost his amateur standing.

A list of the gadgets he has produced would be almost impossible to produce. They have included cardboard figures, which youngsters make by pushing out perforated parts and folding along the dotted line, figures such as chickens, rabbits, little girls in fancy, foreign dresses, trucks; a whole cut-out circus with clowns, lions, horses, giraffes, monkeys, and all the rest; there have been "minute movies", "twirlies," countless games, optical illusions - almost anything you can think of.

American youngsters, says Cloud, like to have action in their gadgets. So he spends no end of time figuring out contrivances that move.

C. Carey Cloud, artist, turned businessman, is still the artist at heart. Although painting now is only a hobby, he hopes to turn out more work than he has been able to in the past few years.

And, as you can see from the record, he is more than a businessman, or artist, or both, He's a Santa Claus on a year 'round basis.
C. Carey Cloud - Year Round Santa Claus

C. Carey Cloud