Harley Davidson History
In 1901, the 21 year-old William S. Harley had created the blueprint of an engine that was designed to fit in a conventional bicycle. Two years later, William together with his friend Arthur Davidson started and developed a one-cylinder engine that was installed on a conventional bicycle during that time. However, this motorized-bicycle was proved to be incapable of climbing through the Milwaukee hills without pedal assistance. Harley and Davidson developed further their motor after that experience.
Immediately, they have created a bigger engine (405 cc or 24.74 cubic inches) that was become the very first and real Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Meanwhile, the first Harley-Davidson factory was in a 10 x 15-foot wooden shed. The two friends were helped by Arthur’s older brother Walter.
After a year, the Harley-Davidson motorcycle entered its very first motorcycle race at Milwaukee.
The first years came in so quickly for the company that after 3 years, Harley-Davidson motorcycle production was transferred at Chestnut Street (that was later become Juneau Avenue). This is still the Harley-Davidson headquarters up to this time.
In 1907, William received a degree in mechanical engineering at University of Wisconsin. This helped them to development of better Harley-Davidson engines in the future. The same year also provided them a much needed factory expansion for the growing motorcycle demands. The year 1907 introduced the 45-degree V-Twin engine which has become the sole Harley-Davidson engine for a very long time.
Over the years, the company has gained so much popularity that was converted into sales output. During the First World War, Harley-Davidson was commissioned to provide more than 20,000 units for military use. The story of the Second World was the same for the company. They produced thousand upon thousands of motorcycle.
Before the entry of the 70’s, AMF or the American Machinery and Foundry bought Harley-Davidson. Policies had changed that resulted to labor strike and substandard bikes. The popularity and reputation of the company was severely damaged.
In the 80’s, it was sold to a group of investors headed by Willie G. Davidson and Vaughn Beals. The provided innovations such as the introduction of the “Sturgis”. The costumers began to return and the company had seen clearer promise.
Since then, the popularity of Harley-Davidson motorcycles was unquestionable. They regained their leadership in motorcycle industry as they create a unique line of motorcycles, different from the conventional Japan made. Now, after more than a hundred years of existence, Harley-Davidson motorcycles have become an attraction in every road around the world.