Thomas A. Carvelas, also known as Tom Carvel (July 14, 1906 – October 21, 1990) was a Greek-born American businessman known for the invention and promotion of soft ice cream in the northeastern United States. He is the founder of the Carvel brand and franchise, and often considered the father of modern franchising in the United States.
Carvel began selling ice cream in Hartsdale, New York in 1929, out of his truck. When it broke down in a parking lot, he decided not to repair it, as his business had become even more successful than it was previously; he was soon able to buy the business off whose property he was operating.
Carvel developed new refrigeration machines and sold his designs. After World War II, he began to franchise his ice cream stores.
Carvel featured in his own advertisements; the company believes that his gravelly voice and personal charm were important factors in the success of his business.
The Carvel company specialized in ice cream cakes, often in the shapes of animals. Two of the most popular ice cream novelties introduced by his business were "Fudgie The Whale" and "Cookie Puss".