In 1869 David Buick, 15, dropped out of school to take a job at a plumbing supply company to help support his family. When that business ran into financial trouble in 1882, Buick and a partner bought it out. They revitalized it, once again making it profitable. In the 1890s Buick discovered a new interest, internal combustion engines. Buick sold his share of the plumbing company and used his capital to start the Buick Auto-Vim and Power Company in 1899. The company began production of engines for agricultural use.
He soon turned to automotive engine development leading to a revolutionary “valve in-head” overhead valve engine. It’s success led him to found Buick Motor Company in 1903. Just three years later, he accepted a severance package from Buick, leaving him with one share of the company he started. The president of Buick, William C. Durant, who would go on to found General Motors, purchased this share for $100,000, approximately $2.6 million when adjusted for inflation. Following more than two decades of unsuccessful investments Buick, died with nearly no money to his name on this day in 1929.