Ride that bike
The Harley Davidson!
A modest beginning. A dedicated team striving for perfection.
Officially completed in 1903 by the Harley Davidson Company, the journey began unofficially in 1901 with a 21-year-old named William S. Harley.
He sketched out plans for a compact 7.07 cubic inches engine, paired with 4-inch flywheels. The intention was to integrate it into a standard pedal-bicycle frame.
Guided by his friend Arthur Davidson and his brother Walter, they embarked on this venture.
The initial attempt, however, took shape in the machine shop of their friend Henry Melk. This prototype fell short in power to conquer Milwaukee’s gentle slopes; hence, relying on human pedaling.
The inaugural authentic Harley Davidson Motorcycle came into being with the contribution of another Davidson sibling, William. This version featured a larger engine at 24.74 cubic inches, sporting 9-3/4 inch flywheels, weighing 28 pounds.
By September 8, 1904, the upgraded motorcycle was ready, marking its debut in a Milwaukee motorcycle race.
The initial production yielded three motorcycles in 1903, followed by three more in 1904. As the calendar turned to 1905, production escalated to eight completed motorcycles. This landmark enabled Walt Davidson to bid farewell to his railroad job, becoming the company’s first full-time employee. Adding a touch of artistry, his aunt Janice Davidson lent her talent, adorning the bikes in black with exquisite gold trim.
Thus, the birth of a legend, the iconic motorbike.
Harley Davidson’s Evolution: From Modest Beginnings to Global Dominance
In the year 1906, the inaugural factory of the Harley Davidson Motor Company emerged as an unassuming wooden edifice on Chestnut Street, now recognized as Juneau Avenue. This historical location stands firm as the corporate headquarters of the Motor Company, a hub from which its influence has spread across the globe.
The year 1907 marked a significant milestone with William S. Harley’s graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, armed with a degree in mechanical engineering. This juncture also witnessed the expansion of the factory’s premises, leading to a remarkable surge in production, escalating the motorcycle count from 50 to a notable 150.
Notably, 1907 also saw the culmination of a pivotal achievement: the creation of the prototype 45-degree V-Twin engine. Boasting a displacement of 53.68 cubic inches and a power output of approximately 7 horsepower, this innovation doubled the hill-climbing capabilities of the initial motorcycles.
The year 1908 ushered in a production uptick, reaching 450 motorcycles, an ascent that continued to reach an impressive 1,149 in 1909.
The trajectory of success was undeniable. The original factory structure was substituted and expanded upon, propelling Harley Davidson motorcycles to assert their dominance in the competitive realm of motorcycle racing.
By the time 1914 rolled around, the pinnacle of achievement was evident, as production figures soared to a staggering 16,284 units.
The onset of the First World War exponentially escalated the demand for motorcycles, particularly within the military context. Harley Davidson’s factory was instrumental, churning out over 20,000 units to serve military forces.
Following the war’s conclusion, the company persisted in its trajectory of advancement and production prowess. It stood tall as one of the two American cycle manufacturers to withstand the ravages of the Great Depression, a testament to its resilience and enduring appeal.
Even throughout the tumultuous periods of the Second World War and the Korean War, the company’s commitment to the military remained unwavering, as it continued to supply machines. Eventually, the iconic Jeep took the reins of popularity, supplanting the Harley Davidson motorcycles in military utility.
Today, the Harley Davidson Motor Company maintains its robust presence and influence. The moniker “HOG” is now a recognizable entity on the Stock Market, synonymous with prudent investment choices, whether in the form of a bike or a share. The legacy of Harley Davidson’s journey, from its humble origins to its current global stature, is a testament to its enduring appeal and unwavering commitment to excellence.
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