Pocahontas Has Its Own Santa in The Kaleidoscope Factory

POCAHONTAS, Iowa- Christmas is just days away, and no one is more aware of that, than Leonard Olson of the Kaleidoscope Factory.

Olson makes kaleidoscopes to sell as gifts. He also will show people how to make a kaleidoscope, “but they they usually want to buy it,” said Olson.

The Kaleidoscope Factory began after Olson had a heart attack, and was in the hospital. While there a friend brought him a kaleidoscope.

He then bought some wood working equipment, as a way to help come back from his heart attack. Ended up making kaleidoscopes. After offering a kaleidoscope on a charity auction, he was surprised, it brought $110.

So he began making kaleidoscopes full-time, in 2006.

“They’re fun for everybody they work like magic but we all know it’s science but they appear to be magical,” said Olson.

The Kaleidoscope Factory even makes a model called a “Memory Scope.” People can load any sentimental objects, such as jewelry into the kaleidoscope. One customer wanted to put corn in there taken from her late husband’s last corn harvest.

This time of year is very busy. Olson is shipping out to customers all over. Some he says may not be done by Christmas.

“This is not that phenomenal,” said Olson on actually making the kaleidoscopes. “The hard part is the stories, the marketing, the whole ambience people come here for, this is theater at the Kaleidoscope Factory, but it could be anything, it’s all theater.”