1861 : William Durant Born

December 8, 2021 all-day

Photo of William Durant, courtesy of wikipedia

On Dec. 8, 1861, William Crapo “Billy” Durant, the grandson to former Michigan Gov. Henry Crapo, was born. By age 30, despite dropping out of school, Durant became a success by selling horse drawn carriages in Flint.

In 1904, Durant, by then a multimillionaire, applied his knowledge of vehicles to the auto industry and became general manager of the Buick Motor Company. Four years later, Durant founded General Motors, which sold stock so that it could acquire Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Cadillac and several automobile parts manufacturers.

Durant was forced out of his company two years later when he was blamed for financial trouble that left General Motors vulnerable and in need of a bailout from East Coast banks.

He would later found Frigidaire.

Source: Michigan Every Day

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