According to one of Leonard's letters, the sale of air cylinders and pneumatics grew from $458.15 to $1,128,841.84 between 1953 and 1963. Distributors and new customers were a huge contributor to this. Clippard's own sales team was finding new markets in which pneumatics could be used. The 1960s were a time of aggressive planning and strategic sales for Clippard, and there were many talented individuals who took part in making that happen. Jim Crain, who joined the Clippard sales team in 1963, served as Sales Manager and teamed with Clippard engineers and advertising consultants to target key distributors for the company. Partnering with reputable distributors like Rossel, Airoyal, Tipler, Barker, and Knox were huge accomplishments for the company at this time.
Other significant team members joined Clippard's history during this time as well. In 1963, Bill Clippard started working in the engineering department full-time after graduating from The Ohio State University. His brother, Leonard's youngest son, Bob Clippard, began working full-time for Clippard in 1968, focusing on advertising. Part of the early expansion for the Clippard sales department was the introduction of Len Barrett, who originally worked for Machine Design magazine and called Jim Crain to sell advertising space. Little did he know that Jim would convince him to join the Clippard team. Len soon entered the company and became Regional Sales Manager, a position Jim says he excelled in with outstanding sales presentation ability.
New Machinery & Expansion
Leonard was conservative in nature, yet did not slow down due to risk. When Clippard needed more machines to keep up with demand, he explored expensive, high capacity machinery. A salesman for the Warner Swasey Company visited Leonard and his team to talk about the equipment's capabilities. When it came time to purchase, Leonard took him to his office to discuss the cost. When a fair price was reached, the salesman began his a discussion about finance options and ways to afford one of these machines. Leonard pulled out the checkbook and wrote a check for three machines on the spot. To this day, Clippard has never taken a loan or owed money for any capital investment. This point was very important to Leonard, and made him proud of his success.
A New Era of Manufacturing
Toward the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, the American era of extensive manufacturing began. Small applications began making their way into the production processes of certain manufacturers. For the textile industry, Clippard created an air cylinder that could be used in sewing shops to cut a line of thread with a tiny attached blade, thus saving time in the making of garments. Carpet manufacturers saw the benefit of using air cylinders in their process, sometimes using thousands of products in one machine. Newspaper presses also began using Clippard cylinders in their printing processes to control the ink supply as well as the tension and guiding of the giant paper rolls.
Though these were small applications to improve production procedures, they were significant. As these various small applications began to multiply, other potential customers began to see new opportunities for their own processes in the wide variety of uses for Clippard products. Applications in the medical and analytical industries also began expanding during this time as more manufacturers began to see that air control offered reliable and safe solutions that fit their needs. One of the early medical applications for Clippard's miniature products was in dentistry, with hand held instruments that used compressed air. As these types of applications continued to branch out and reach new industries, Clippard was also improving their own production and testing processes to improve their products.
Disney & Clippard
As Walt Disney was working on the encore of Disneyland, Clippard was widely used in the animatronics Disney became famous for due to the miniature size and power the products offered. The August 1963 issue of National Geographic highlighted many of the Disney creations with Clippard products prominently seen on each page.
Operation Expands to New Facility
The 1967 opening of a new plant in Paris, Tennessee, which employed nearly 300 women, was part of the separation Leonard had made in the late 1950s of his two product lines—Clippard Instrument, Inc., the coils business, and Clippard Instrument Laboratory, Inc., the pneumatics. The pneumatics were becoming a growing main focus product at the Colerain facility, while the Paris plant was a significant contributor to the coil side of the business.
Leonard's Other Businesses
While the pneumatics business was growing fast, Leonard was always interested in other endeavors. His brother Sam, an architect in Little Rock, approached Leonard about buying a hotel that he had designed. Soon, a new sign was raised announcing "Clippard Courts Travelers Hotel," "Complete with Pool, and TVs in Every Room." This facility was very profitable for many years, and was later sold.
Leonard established another less successful business in Cincinnati—Midwest Helicopters, Inc. Based at the main Lunken Field Airport, the plan was to sell the new line of Hughes helicopters, as well as to provide ground transportation services to travelers between airports. Leonard closed the business in 1966.