100 Years Harley Davidson
In 1791 Comte de Sicrac, built the first hobby horse bike - a hobby horse
with two wheels instead of a rocker. By 1890 with a better design the
bicycle was a practical investment for the working man as transportation,
and gave him a much greater flexibility for leisure. Women would also
start riding bicycles in much larger numbers.
But it was Arthur Davidson, 20, and William Harley, 21, of Michigan who in
1901 began experimenting with the idea of "taking the work out of
bicycling." At that time there was already a new invention called the
horseless carriage so it was only logical to come up with the idea to fit
a smaller combustion engine to a bicycle. Soon after, the duo were joined
by Arthur's two brothers Walter and William.
The founders of Haley Davidson
The Indian was the first motorcycle, born of an agreement between George
Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom, inscribed on a single sheet of paper in
January, 1901. The Davidson's and Harley turned out three motorcycle by
1903, the Mitschell, Merkel and Yale. These new bikes were reliable,
beautiful cycles and people wanted them. In 1905 they had built 11
motorcycles and by the following year Harley-Davidson erected their first
building at the current Juneau Avenue site and they incorporated in 1907.
The Motor Company's first dealer was a Chicago businessman named Carl
Herman Lang, who began to retail Harley-Davidsons in 1905. Also in 1907
production turned out 150 motorcycles. Now with 20 employees and a new
building Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Co. was born.
For most dedicated Harley enthusiast you already know how HD came to be,
I wanted to bring more to the table on this subject and to show the many
ways Harley-Davidson changed the world of transportation and made their
place in history.
The first motorcycles were not only used for transportation but soon after
opening the factory doors, the Police forces began buying the
Harley-Davidson motorcycles not only for their speed but for the freedom
they needed to apprehend criminals . By 1914 they tried their hand at
motorcycle racing, and soon dominated the sport becoming known as the
"Wrecking Crew". Also that same year the side-car was added to the
motorcycles and by 1917 one-third of all HD were sent over seas to the
U.S. Military taking their place in history while aiding in the war
effort. When it was all said and done their were over 20,000 motorcycles
used in the war most of them Harley-Davidson.
The 1920's brought changes to the appearance of the motorcycle, one being
the teardrop shape gas tank, single-cylinder engines were once again
available, after being discontinued in 1918. Also the first twin-cam
engine and front wheel brakes were now available on the HD bikes, now the
motorcycle could reach speeds in excess of 85 mph.
1930's brought the three-wheel Servi-Car that would become a familiar
commercial and police vehicle. Along with appearance changes such as the
"eagle" design, that was painted on all Harley-Davidson gas tanks, changes
were also made to the engine.
The 40's brought another war and the call for more motorcycles to be sent
over seas, mostly bringing a halt to the civilian production of bikes as
the company turned out motorcycles for the war. As a result of their
commitment and excellence, Harley-Davidson received the Army-Navy "E"
award. The 1940's also introduced hydraulic front brakes on the
Over the many years to follow Harley-Davison would see many changes, ups
and downs, and find their selves on the silver screen. Who would have
thought that one small idea would turn into an American dream and world
Employees: 9,100 world wide
Companies Worth: Well over a billion dollars
H.O.G. Member: Over 300.000
Companies Plan for 2003: to make at least 200,000 to 300,000 motorcycles a
For more information on Harley Davidson visit there site at :
and RIDE ON,