harley davidson

Topics: Harley-Davidson Pages: 5 (1888 words) Published: August 15, 2015
In 1901, a 20-year old William S. Harley drew up plans for a small engine designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame. Over the next two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson worked on their motor-bicycle in the Milwaukee machine shop located at the home of their friend, Henry Melk. On the year 1903, Harley, Davidson and Davidson’s brother, Walter Davidson, finished their first motor-bicycle. Harley and the Davidson brothers tested the power-cycle of their first motor-bicycle and they used it as a valuable learning experiment. The boys immediately began on a new and improved second-generation machine and the first “real” Harley-Davidson motorcycle was born. The bigger engine and loop-design took the motorcycle out of the motorized bicycle category and marked the path to future motorcycle designs. Outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude also gave the boys a helping hand. By September 8, 1904, a Harley-Davidson prototype competed in a Milwaukee motorcycle race held at State Fair Park. It was ridden by Edwin Hildebrand and it placed fourth. This is the first documented appearance of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in historical record. In January 1905, small advertisements were placed in the Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal offering bare Harley-Davidson engines to the do-it-yourself trade. By April, complete motorcycles were in production on a very limited basis. That year, the first Harley-Davidson dealer, Carl H. Lang of Chicago, sold three bikes from the five built in the Davidson backyard shed. Years later the original shed was taken to the Juneau Avenue factory where it would stand for many decades as a tribute to the Motor Company's humble origins until it was accidentally destroyed by contractors cleaning the factory yard in the early 1970s. In 1906, Harley and the Davidson brothers built their first factory on Juneau Avenue, at the current location of Harley-Davidson's corporate headquarters. The first Juneau Avenue plant was a 40 ft × 60 ft single-story wooden structure. About 50 motorcycles were produced that year. In 1907, one of Harley-Davidson’s founders, William S. Harley, graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in mechanical engineering. And during the same year, there was an additional factory expansion with a second floor and later with facings and additions of Milwaukee pale yellow brick. With the new facilities, production increased to 150 motorcycles in 1907. The company was officially incorporated that September. They also began selling their motorcycles to police departments around this time, a market that has been important to them ever since. By 1911, some 150 makes of motorcycles had already been built in the United States, although just a handful would survive the 1910s. An improved V-Twin model was introduced during the same year. The new engine had mechanically operated intake valves, as opposed to the "automatic" intake valves used on earlier V-Twins that opened by engine vacuum. The 1911 V-Twin was also smaller than earlier twins, but it gave a better performance. After 1913 the majority of bikes produced by Harley-Davidson would be V-Twin models. In 1912, Harley-Davidson introduced their patented "Ful-Floteing Seat", which was suspended by a coil spring inside the seat tube. The spring tension could be adjusted to suit the rider's weight and more than 3 inches of travel was available. Harley-Davidson would use seats of this type until 1958. By 1913, the yellow brick factory had been demolished and on the site a new 5-story structure had been built. The many additions to the 1910 factory would take up two blocks along Juneau Avenue and around the corner on 38th Street. Despite the competition, Harley-Davidson was already pulling ahead of Indian and would dominate motorcycle racing after 1914. Production that year swelled to 16,284 machines. In 1917, the United States entered World War I and the military demanded motorcycles for the war effort. Harleys...
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