Louis Goldman

Scrap Metal Entrepreneur

Louis Goldman was born in Detroit on October 17, 1882. Following his public education, Louis forged a successful and lucrative business partnership with his father, Hyman Goldman. In 1902, Louis married May Cohen and the couple had two children, Harvey and Irene. Louis maintained membership in numerous social organizations including B’nai B’rith, the Freemasons, the Detroit Lodge of Odd Fellows, and the Knights of Pythias.

After first starting in the scrap iron industry, the father-and-son duo formed the Riverside Machinery Company in the Delray section of Detroit in 1908. Seizing on the opportunity provided by the expanding auto industry, the company dealt in used machinery rather than raw materials. Hyman initially served as president, with Louis holding the titles of vice president and general manager. The Goldmans’ early clients included Henry Ford, Louis Chevrolet, and Tom Buick.

The true measure of Riverside’s success comes from the longevity of its innovations in finance and business. The Goldmans introduced new policies and concepts that have become standard in American business models. Thirty-day guaranteed returns, installment plans, and leasing with the option to buy all came from the Riverside company. The tome, The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922 recognized Goldman’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit by referring to him as “a superior executive and an all-around businessman.”

The Riverside Machinery Co., now in its fourth generation of family operation, has relocated and renamed several times in its long history. Now known as Harvey Goldman & Co., its current home is in Southfield.

Photo caption: Hyman (H.L.) Goldman, seated at right, is shown here with his children Louis, Anna, Ray, Harry, Dora, and Abe. Photo courtesy Louis Stern.

For more information:

Burton, Clarence Monroe, William Stocking, and Gordon K. Miller. The city of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922. Vol. 4. Detroit: S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1922. 

Goldman, Dori, "Hyman Louis "H.L." Goldman: Jewish Automobile Manufcturer and Community Builder."  Michigan Jewish History (Fall 2013): 26-31. https://www.michjewishhistory.org/assets/docs/Journals/Michigan_Jewish_History_2013_09.pdf

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