David D. Buick

Inducted 1974

Founded the Buick Motor Company in 1902, which was later consolidated into General Motors

Refined the powerful “valve-in-head” engine

Developed many household innovations including a lawn sprinkler, a toilet flushing device, and his greatest: a technique to affix enamel to cast iron, making possible today’s rust-free sinks and bathtubs

David Buick’s inventive talents touched on virtually everything — including the kitchen sink — but his creativity wasn’t enough to ensure his prosperity in the early scramble for automotive success. Fascinated by ideas and invention, Buick seldom looked up from his workbench to capitalize on his achievements. Although his plumbing business prospered, Buick’s primary interest turned to internal combustion engines. He sold his plumbing business to experiment with engines in his workshop. In 1902 he founded the Buick Manufacturing Company, but fell into debt while perfecting his first automobile. Before a single car had been sold, the company was purchased by William Durant. Buick became just another worker in the shops of the company he had founded. Buick died penniless, though many of his inventions were major achievements. A year before his death, Buick told a reporter that the outcome of his career was “just the breaks of the game.”

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Class of 1974

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