Sylvan Goldman owned the Humpty Dumpty Supermarket chain in Oklahoma City. He noticed that his customers only bought the amount of merchandise they could carry in the hand-held shopping baskets provided at the store. He came up with the idea for creating a portable cart that could hold much more merchandise. He put a large basket on top of a folding chair type frame and attached wheels. The new shopping cart could be wheeled down the aisles of the supermarket and hold a lot more stuff.
Sylvan started using the shopping carts in his store on June 4, 1937. He applied for a patent on March 14, 1938 and the patent was granded on April 9, 1940. He became a multimillionaire from the royalties paid for each shopping cart manufactured during the 17 years the patent was valid.
When he got older he donated funds to build the Sylvan N. Goldman Center of the Oklahoma Blood Institute.