Thursday shook Michigan harder than almost any other state. Stocks of auto and
mining companies were hammered. Auto production in 1929 reached an all-time
high of slightly more than 5 million vehicles, then quickly slumped by 2
million in 1930. By 1932, near the deepest point of the Depression, they had
fallen by another 2 million to just 1,331,860 — down an astonishing 75 percent
from the 1929 peak.
Thousands of investors
everywhere, including many well-known people, were hit hard in the 1929 crash.
Among them was Winston Churchill. He had invested heavily in American stocks
before the crash. Afterward, only his writing skills and positions in government
restored his finances.
Clarence Birdseye, an early
developer of packaged frozen foods, had sold his business for $30 million and
put all his money into stocks. He was wiped out.
William C. Durant, founder of
General Motors, lost more than $40 million in the stock market and wound up a
virtual pauper. (GM itself stayed in the black throughout the Depression under
the cost-cutting leadership of Alfred P. Sloan.)