History of the Company Harley-Davidson

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Nowadays, almost everyone hears that Harley Davidson builds motorcycles, but this was not always the case. Like any success story, it starts quite dramatic, and now let’s get to know it in more detail.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 20th century, more precisely, in 1901, in the city of Milwaukee, which is located in the north of the United States, where William Harley developed an engine whose volume was 115 cm3. Then he was only 22 years old, and for the next 2 years he, along with his friend Arthur Davidson, worked on a model of a bicycle with a motor.

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As a workshop, they had a garage that belonged to their mutual friend Henry Malk. In 1903, with the help of brother Arthur, the first model of a bicycle with a motor was assembled and tested, but, unfortunately, it did not live up to the hopes of the young men. However, they did not even think to stop there and decided to continue the work immediately.

As a result, the first, one might say, real Harley-Davidson motorcycle was created, which had an engine weighing almost 13 kg and a powerful tubular frame. Work on it was carried out in a small shed near the Davidson house, and parts were made in different parts of the city.

Work on the motorcycle was completed on September 8, 1904. On the same day, the prototype became a participant in motorcycle racing, and thanks, among other things, to the competent management of its first racer Eduard Hildebrand, he came to the finish line only fourth. It was from this motorcycle race that the history of Harley-Davidson motorcycles began.

In 1905, a small advertisement appeared in the local newspaper announcing that anyone could purchase Harley-Davidson engines, and in April of that year, ready-made motorcycles began to be sold, although their number was limited. During that year, 3 motorcycles were sold out of those 12 that were assembled back in the barn.

Friends started building their first factory in 1906. Now this place is the headquarters of the company, and then it was a small wooden building about 12 by 18 meters. It was at this plant that in the 1st year of its existence, friends assembled 50 motorcycles.

In 1907, William Harley graduated as a mechanical engineer, and the second floor was added to the factory, increasing production that year to 150 motorcycles. At the same time, the company occupied a large part of the market, thanks to an agreement according to which Harley motorcycles became the transport of the city police.

Harley motorcycles continue to improve and become almost 2 times more powerful, their maximum speed has reached 97 km/h, and their sales have increased almost 3 times. 1911 gives the world a model of the new V-twin engine. Its volume has decreased, and its power has almost doubled. In 1913, friends decide to demolish the old factory and build a new, more spacious one, and by 1914 their company becomes the market leader in motorcycle manufacturers in the United States.

The First World War brings friends new orders for the creation of motorcycles for the armed forces of the United States. As a result, during the hostilities, Harley-Davidson sold 20,000 motorcycles to the armed forces, and in 1920, it took a leading position among all motorcycle manufacturers not only in the United States, but throughout the world. Since then, the company continues to successfully develop and improve. 1935 becomes the time when motorcycle production moves partly to Japan, thanks to the sale of a license to this country. World War II brings the company new orders, and 1953 becomes its 50th anniversary.

For many years the company has been setting new records and continues to develop successfully. Currently, Harley Davidson has the largest motorcycle club in the world, with over 1,000,000 active members, and a range of motorcycle models so wide that everyone will find a motorcycle to their liking with fantastic performance.

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History of the Company Harley-Davidson. (2017, Jul 19). Retrieved from


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