The Early Years Of Harley-Davidson

Harley Davidson is a world-famous manufacturer of motorcycles. It was founded in the USA, in the state of Wisconsin, by two childhood friends William Harley and Arthur Davidson. The official year of foundation is 1903, however, a lot of steps were taken before this could happen. All started in 1901, when Harley created a small engine that could replace the massive engine, used at that time. This engine was not meant for a motorcycle then, Harley aimed at creating a pedal-bicycle that could be powered up, when necessary. Harley introduced his idea to his friend Arthur and both worked on the engine for the first so-called “motor-bicycle” for the long two years.

The first project did not work out so well and friends had to start anew. In 1903 they managed to create the engine of second generation, which allowed the motor-bicycle to climb a hill without the help of a person, riding it. The first model motorcycle was put together in the backyard of Davidson family. The first public appearance of Harley-Davidson motorcycle took place in 1904 at State Fair Park motorcycle race, where it managed to take the fourth place.

First distribution of Harley-Davidson products began in early 1905. Two co-founders offered bare engines for sale and buyers were supposed to put the vehicle together themselves. Later that year they started producing motorcycles in whole, however, the amount of production was extremely limited. In 1906 the “company” got its first factory. Before that all the sold motorcycles were put together in the same family backyard. The former factory on Juneau Avenue is now the headquarters of Harley Davidson Company. That year was extremely profitable and productive for the two friends - they produced and sold 50 vehicles.

William Harley managed to get a degree in mechanical engineering, which allowed him to keep on with new inventions.The fabric got an upgrade in 1907, which included a second floor and and new production facilities. It allowed the company to produce as many as 150 vehicles that year. This year was also famous as a beginning of long and fruitful cooperation of Harley-Davidson company with police departments. By 1913 the  company was doing so well that they had to demolish the old factory building and build a new 5-store production. Harley-Davidson was quickly pulling ahead of the competition and soon became the best. Production this year reached over 16,000 motorcycles and increased with every coming year.


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