The Legacy of Edwin Goldsmith: Inventiveness and Creativity

The 1920s had been a good decade for my cousin Edwin Goldsmith, Sr., and his family, as we saw here. He patented six new inventions, continued to work for Friedberger-Aaron, and became active in the local politics of Longport, New Jersey, where his second home was located. His children were grown, and two were married.  He and his wife Jennie had three grandchildren by 1930, and another, Thomas Holmes Goldsmith, was born in 1931 to Henry and his wife Ida.1 In 1932, Edwin and Jennie’s youngest child, Edwin, Jr., married Helen R. Jacobs, another Philadelphia native;2 she was born October 23, 1909, to Henry and Annie Jacobs.3

Edwin, Sr. obtained four more patents between 1931 and 1933. In 1931 he received a patent for his design of a bathing suit that would dry quickly.4  The patent description is interesting in that it reveals a bit about life before the development of man-made fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex:

Bathing suits of all materials from which such suits are now made…require a considerable time for drying. The user of a privately owned bathing suit frequently is not even temporarily residing near the bathing beach or pool and has no facilities for drying the suit immediately, after use, but must transport it in a more or less wet condition. In public bathing houses the time required to dry bathing suits is a serious item of expense, since it necessitates the provision of a large supply, because at any given time a large proportion of suits is undergoing drying and is out of use.

My guess is that Edwin’s interest in this problem stemmed from his experiences at their summer home in Longport, New Jersey. And isn’t it interesting to learn that many people did not wear their own bathing suits but used those belonging to a bathing house?

Edwin’s invention for a faster drying bathing suit involved using a material that was water permeable and “coated or impregnated with a water-repellant material not necessarily different from that used in the treatment of so-called waterproof garments, e.g., raincoats, to render them substantially impermeable to water.” The suit would then have multiple openings to allow the water to flow in and out of the suit like an open mesh.  I am not sure how commercially successful this design would have been as it sounds quite uncomfortable!

Edwin’s other three patents between 1931 and 1933 related to more mundane matters involving the business of Friedberger-Aaron, e.g., buttonhole tape and a means of mounting and display of articles for sale.

But the 1930s soon turned more difficult for the Goldsmith family. On July 14, 1933, Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith, Edwin Sr.’s wife, died from coronary thrombosis; she was 67 years old.

Jennie Friedberger Goldsmith death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 059001-062000 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

After Jennie’s death, Edwin seemed to lose interest in inventing new products as his last patent was issued on October 3, 1933.  In 1940 Edwin was retired and living in the Majestic Hotel in Philadelphia where his younger sister Estelle Goldsmith and brother-in-law Sidney Stern were also living.5 He also continued to spend time in the Atlantic City area or at least continued to be listed in their 1941 directory.6

His older son Henry founded and owned a nylon netting company called Thomas Holmes Manufacturing, presumably named for his son Thomas Holmes Goldsmith. (Holmes was Ida Stryker’s grandmother’s birth name) and perhaps inspired by his father’s bathing suit patent.7  In 1940, Henry and his wife Ida and son Thomas were living with Ida’s parents, George and Ella Stryker.8

Henry’s younger brother Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr. was also living in Philadelphia in 1940 with his wife Helen and her mother Annie Jacobs. Edwin was working as an industrial engineer.9 But by 1942, Edwin, Jr. and Helen had left Philadelphia and moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania, where Edwin was employed by M.M. Gottlieb, a clock manufacturing company. They are listed in the Allentown directories until 1945.10

Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. World War II draft registration
Draft Registration Cards for Pennsylvania, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947. 2,818 boxes. NAI: 5324575. Records of the Selective Service System, 1926–1975, Record Group 147. National Archives and Records Administration, St Louis, Missouri.

During this time Edwin, Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and obtained a patent. He was awarded the patent, which he assigned to his employer M.M. Gottlieb, for the invention of a “new and useful ‘numeral clock.’” As described in the patent, “[o]ne of the objects of the present invention is a numeral clock which will be more positive in action and less subject to disturbance by vibrations or accidental jarring, and which may be readily adjusted or “set” whenever necessary, and which may be manufactured and assembled readily and at low cost, and which may be conveniently installed in a casing or housing.”11 Perhaps this was a very early version of a so-called “digital” clock?

Edwin Jr. and Helen also had a child during this decade.

As for Henry and Edwin’s older sister Cecile Goldsmith and her husband Julian Stern Simsohn, I was unable to find them on the 1940 census, but according to Julian’s World War II registration, in 1942 they were living in Elkins Park, a suburb of Philadelphia, and Julian was working as a chemical engineer in his own firm.

Julian Simsohn, Sr, World War II draft registration
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1951 U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Their son Julian, Jr., was living at home in Elkins Park in 1940, according to his World War II draft registration, and was working for Thomas Holmes Manufacturing in Philadelphia, the company owned by his uncle Henry. Julian, Jr. served as a corporal in the US Army Air Forces in the Fourth Reconnaissance Group during World War II, including twenty months served overseas.12 I assume that Marjorie, who was still a teenager in 1940, was also living at home.

Julian Simsohn Jr. World War II draft registration
The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 2315
Source Information U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Cecile and Julian Simsohn’s older daughter Jean married Vincenzo Savarese on January 4, 1939, in Lenoir County, North Carolina. She was 21, he was 27. According to their marriage record, Vincenzo was born in Naples, Italy, and they were both residents of Philadelphia. In 1940 Jean and Vincenzo were living in Atlanta, Georgia, where Vincent was employed as a traveling salesman for a wholesale gift company.13

Marriage license of Jean Simsohn and Vincenzo Savarese,
Series: Marriage Licenses (1879 – 1961)
Source Information North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011.

Edwin M. Goldsmith, Sr. died on November 14, 1944, in Philadelphia; he was eighty years old.  According to his death certificate, he had suffered from cardiovascular disease for ten years—that is, dating from around the time that his wife Jennie died. Edwin died from cardiac failure.

Edwin M Goldsmith, Sr., death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 099801-102350 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Edwin’s daughter Cecile died on March 30, 1946, less than two years after her father; she was only 57 and died from ovarian cancer. According to her obituary she was a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls and Bryn Mawr College and had founded and directed a day camp for children; she had also been the treasurer and secretary of the Montgomery County branch of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom as well as the secretary of the Bamberger Seashore Home for Children in Longport, New Jersey. At the time of her death she was the president of Keneseth Israel Sisterhood. 14

Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 026851-029400 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

Edwin, Sr., would likely have been pleased by the creative endeavors of his granddaughter Jean Simsohn Savarese, daughter of his daughter Cecile Goldsmith Simsohn, and her husband Vincenzo.  In 1950 Jean and Vincenzo (known also as Vincent) developed a line of “oven-to-table” pots and pans.  According to an article in the August 25, 1950, Philadelphia Inquirer, Vincent had studied art appreciation in Italy before emigrating and came up with the design and was helped by another man to bring the design into practice.15

Marcia Strousse, “Coppersmith Puts Art in Kitchenware,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1950, p. 17.

As described in the article, “Fashioned of solid copper lined with pure tin, the varied pieces are distinguished by their clean-cut articulate lines, a combination of old world charm and the effects of modern technology. Each is functionally designed with handles to aid in serving them right to the table.” Jean and Vincent called their company Jenzo, a combination of Jean and Enzo, Vincent’s nickname.  Based on the advertisements I found on, their products were sold all over the US during the 1950s. Here are just two examples.

Ad for Jenzo copperward at Hudson’s Department Store in Detroit
Detroit Free Press, December 14, 1951, p. 7.

Ad for Jenzo products, Bon Marche store, Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville Citizen, December 12, 1954, p. 40

In 1952 Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. joined his brother Henry at Thomas Holmes Manufacturing where he became vice president; he stayed there until his retirement in 1968.16

The 1960s brought some sad times for the family. Henry Goldsmith died from congestive heart failure on October 27, 1963; he was seventy years old. He was survived by his wife Ida and their son Thomas.

Henry F Goldsmith death certificate
Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Pennsylvania, USA; Certificate Number Range: 100201-103050 Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1966

His nephew Julian Stern Simsohn, Jr. followed less than  two years later on February 4, 1965; he was only 46 years old and predeceased his father, Julian, Sr., who outlived his son by six years.17 Julian, Jr. never married; his will created a trust, the income of which was to be paid to his father for life, then to be paid to his two sisters, Jean and Marjorie.18 Jean died in 1999, Marjorie in 2006.  Their uncle Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr. died in 1991.19

UPDATE: Thank you to my cousin Anthony who let me know that his grandparents Jean Simsohn and Vincent Savarese divorced in the 1960s and that Jean, who had converted to Catholicism, became a Poor Clare nun, living in a cloistered convent in Roswell, New Mexico for the rest of her life. Anthony also shared with me that Jean was able to have her marriage annulled; she took on the name Jane Frances after becoming a nun. Her ex-husband Anthony Savarese remarried, and his second wife was also named Jean, born Jean Gallagher. I had confused the two women in my research and had assigned the wrong birth and death dates to my cousin Jean Simsohn. I am so glad Anthony discovered my error and helped me set the record straight.

It was interesting to study Edwin Goldsmith Sr. and his family after studying his brother Milton and his family.  Two sons of Abraham Goldsmith and Cecelia Adler with such different interests and careers—Milton, the author, and Edwin, the inventor.

It was also interesting to see how Edwin’s children and even grandchildren inherited some of his skills and interest in design and invention. Both sons became engineers, one started a nylon netting company where both ended up working. One son followed in his father’s footsteps and obtained a patent for his invention. Edwin’s son-in-law Julian Simsohn was also an engineer. Edwin’s granddaughter Jean and her husband Vincenzo Savarese designed and developed an improved method of making pots and pans. And more recently, another grandson applied for a patent in 2012 for a benefit payments method, showing that the creative impulses that run through the family DNA have continued to influence and inspire Edwin’s descendants.20

  1. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. 
  2. Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1852-1968. Original data: Marriage Records. Pennsylvania Marriages. Various County Register of Wills Offices, Pennsylvania. Film Number: 004141719. 
  3. U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Voter Registration Lists, Public Record Filings, Historical Residential Records, and Other Household Database Listings. 
  4. E.M. Goldsmith, Bathing suit, U.S. Patent No.1,828,989, November 3, 1931. 
  5. Edwin Goldsmith, 1940 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03698; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 51-384. Source Information 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. 
  6.  Atlantic City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1941. Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. “H.F. Goldsmith, Nylon Executive,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 29, 1963, p. 38. 
  8. Household of George Stryker, 1940 U.S. Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03752; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 51-2125. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. Edwin Goldsmith, Jr. and family, 1940 US Census, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: m-t0627-03754; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 51-2169. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10.  Allentown, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1942-1945. Source Information U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. 
  11. E.M. Goldsmith, Jr., Clock, U.S. Patent No. 2,343,613, March 7, 1944. 
  12.  National Cemetery Administration. U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2006. Original data: National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator
  13. Vincenzo and Jean Savarese, 1940 US census, Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia; Roll: m-t0627-00732; Page: 85A; Enumeration District: 160-219. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  14. “Mrs. Simsohn Dies, Long Ill,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 1946, p. 7/ 
  15. Marcia Strousse, “Coppersmith Puts Art in Kitchenware,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 25, 1950, p. 17. 
  16. “Edwin Goldsmith, Retired Engineer,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 6, 1991, p. 18. 
  17. Julian Simsohn, Jr.: Number: 164-14-9523; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. Julian Simsohn, Sr.: Number: 183-14-3189; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration. 
  18. “Trust Established In Area Man’s Will,” The Mercury (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), February 26, 1965, p. 3. 
  19.  Jean Simsohn aka Jane Frances Savarese death information from her grandson Anthony Savarese and obituary found at ; Marjorie Gerstle: U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007. Edwin M. Goldsmith, Jr.: Number: 186-01-0896; Issue State: Pennsylvania; Issue Date: Before 1951. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
  20. Edwin M. Goldsmith, Marcia W. Goldsmith, and Louis M. Heidelberger, Benefit Payment Method and System, U.S. Patent Application No. 13279377, published December 27, 2012 (abandoned). 

33 thoughts on “The Legacy of Edwin Goldsmith: Inventiveness and Creativity

    • Thank you, Treeklimber! I remember having to use school-issued bathing suits in high school, and they were gross! Me? Patents? Hah! I hated science. I like to think I take after Edwin’s brother Milton who was a writer. 🙂


  1. Amy, you seem to get the best use out of your Ancestry and newspaper subscriptions. Do you rely on Ancestry to turn up records using their search feature or do you also use their catalog to find collections for the areas you are researching?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Both, Cathy. First I use the search function, and if there are still holes, I use the catalog. I am only now, however, discovering the hidden databases on FamilySearch—quite an adventure! And I love both and They are both more than worth the subscription price, especially for Philadelphia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t have a newspaper subscription right now. I got a lot of use out of one about 8 years ago but really haven’t needed one enough to pay for a full-time subscription. FamilySearch keeps me covered for a lot of my research and leaves little time to try other subscription sites. I often take advantage of Fold3 when they have free collections available but usually I’m in the middle of something and don’t have time to really profit from them. Thank you, Amy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t imagine not having Ancestry All Access—which includes newspapers and Fold3. It is expensive, but this is my only true vice, so I figure it’s better than drugs, cigarettes, video games, gambling, etc! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Every time we encounter a problem that cannot be solved by ordinary available methods there is the potential of new invention on the horizon, Amy. But unfortunately, we do not all have the same mind as Edwin Goldsmith and his son. That clock by the way definitely looks like the forerunner of the digital clock, Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I always am amazed at what the human mind can conjure up. Look at all the inventions just in our lifetime—the DVR, the cell phone, and most especially, the computer and internet for every day use. And that’s just the beginning of it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had to read about the bathing suits over a few times, I couldn’t believe what I was reading, I can’t even imagine that but actually going to the pool or beach was not like what we know of it today. Amy did you notice under the picture of Jean and Vincenzo (Jenzo) the mention of “Coppersmith puts art in the kitchenware” ? Is this a coincidence or is something else brewing here 🙂 I really enjoyed the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is so cool about the copper pots! A creative thread in the family! And so interesting about the bathing suit fabric. Remember putting on a wet suit when you were a kid? Always chilly and hard to get on. ick! Wonderful post, Amy. Sad that Edwin gave up inventing, but maybe he was tired from such a busy life!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s amazing to me how many people lived in hotels during that time period. After my great grandfather died, my great grandmother spent the rest of her life living in a hotel. And the digital clock – wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know—when my dad told me that he and my aunt lived with their grandmother in a hotel for the last few years of her life, I imagined them as wealthy and living like Elouise! But I think it just was a common way for people—especially widows and widowers—to live back then if they had the resources.


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