Before becoming a trademark of automobile luxury and innovative engineering, Buick was rather fond of plumbing inventions. Born in Arbroath, Scotland, David Dunbar Buick experienced a second-coming to life in his mid 30's when he became particularly interested in gasoline engines. He soon discarded his plumbing-related activities and, by the 1900's, he had already built an impressive number of engines for farming and boating usage. Buick's passion for motors led him to establishing his own company, called Auto-Vim and Power Co.
However, this choice of name lacked the powerful resonance of its founder's name, which was quick to replace it by 1903 - when the company pinned a brand new name tag to its chest: the Buick Manufacturing Co. During the same year, the company's heads went for further simplifying the name by dropping the 'Manufacturing' from the label.
Once corporate identity and appearance issues were satisfactory solved, Buick started focusing on car-engine development. The emphasis Buick put on his work would soon pay back, the genesis of the overhead valve engine having brought the company a generous amount of acclaim.
This was mostly thanks to the positioning of the valves, which allowed Buick engines to be fitted into tighter spaces while granting drivers easy access to maintenance - unlike the majority of the car engines at the time (which sported angle-mounted valves). Although Buick and his top engineering duo, Eugene Richard and Walter L. Marr, were successful in avoiding some major engine-building related intricacies, the brand entered a stage of slow-sales paradox.
Such were the financial difficulties encountered that, by September 1903, David Buick and his financial backer Benjamin Briscoe Jr. sold the firm to a wagon-making group in Flint, Michigan, 60 miles from Detroit (the former headquarters of the Buick factory). Luckily, the Buick plant was moved entirely to Flint, which allowed David Buick, who had been kept as manager, to further focus on his work.