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Harley-Davidson

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson
Vehicle Manufacturer

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Official Site: Harley-Davidson.com
Wikipedia: Harley-Davidson

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Harley Owners' Group (H.O.G.)
HarleyExpress.com

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Reference Desk
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Unidentified Photographs
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Classified Ads
Headquarters: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

An iconic manufacturer of motorcycles founded by William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson in 1903.

Vehicle names used by Harley-Davidson currently and throughout history include:  Electra-Glide, FL, FX, Heritage Softail, Night Rod Special, Road King, Softail, Sportster, V-Rod, VR, WL, XG500, and XG750.

Dealerships include:
Cerini Harley-Davidson & Honda
McHenry Harley-Davidson Shop (McHenry, Illinois)
Woodstock Harley-Davidson (Woodstock, Illinois)

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Harley-Davidson page on 11 July 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (H-D), or Harley, is an American motorcycle manufacturer, founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1903.

As one of two major American motorcycle manufacturers to survive the Great Depression (along with Indian), the company has survived numerous ownership arrangements, subsidiary arrangements (e.g., Aermacchi 1974-1978 and Buell 1987-2009), periods of poor economic health and product quality, as well as intense global competition — to become the world's fifth largest motorcycle manufacturer and an iconic brand widely known for its loyal following — with owner clubs and events worldwide as well as a company sponsored brand-focused museum.

Noted for a style of customization that gave rise to the chopper motorcycle style, Harley-Davidson traditionally marketed heavyweight, air-cooled cruiser motorcycles with engine displacements greater than 700 cc — and has broadened its offerings to include its more contemporary VRSC (2001) and middle-weight Street (2014) platforms.

Harley-Davidson manufactures its motorcycles at factories in York, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Kansas City, Missouri; Manaus, Brazil; and Bawal, India — and markets its products worldwide.

History: Beginning

In 1901, 20-year-old William S. Harley drew up plans for a small engine with a displacement of 7.07 cubic inches (116 cc) and four-inch (102 mm) flywheels. The engine was 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 using the northside Milwaukee machine shop at the home of their friend, Henry Melk. It was finished in 1903 with the help of Arthur's brother, Walter Davidson. Upon testing their power-cycle, Harley and the Davidson brothers found it unable to climb the hills around Milwaukee without pedal assistance. They quickly wrote off their first motor-bicycle as a valuable learning experiment.

Work immediately began on a new and improved second-generation machine. This first "real" Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a bigger engine of 24.74 cubic inches (405 cc) with 9.75 inches (25 cm) flywheels weighing 28 lb (13 kg). The machine's advanced loop-frame pattern was similar to the 1903 Milwaukee Merkel motorcycle (designed by Joseph Merkel, later of Flying Merkel fame). The bigger engine and loop-frame design took it out of the motorized bicycle category and marked the path to future motorcycle designs. The boys also received help with their bigger engine from outboard motor pioneer Ole Evinrude, who was then building gas engines of his own design for automotive use on Milwaukee's Lake Street.

The prototype of the new loop-frame Harley-Davidson was assembled in a 10 ft × 15 ft (3.0 m × 4.6 m) shed in the Davidson family backyard. Most of the major parts, however, were made elsewhere, including some probably fabricated at the West Milwaukee railshops where oldest brother William A. Davidson was then toolroom foreman. This prototype machine was functional by September 8, 1904, when it competed in a Milwaukee motorcycle race held at State Fair Park. It was ridden by Edward Hildebrand and placed fourth. This is the first documented appearance of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the 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 Chestnut Street (later Juneau Avenue), at the current location of Harley-Davidson's corporate headquarters. The first Juneau Avenue plant was a 40 ft × 60 ft (12 m × 18 m) single-story wooden structure. The company produced about 50 motorcycles that year.

In 1907, William S. Harley graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison with a degree in mechanical engineering. That year additional factory expansion came with a second floor and later with facings and additions of Milwaukee pale yellow ("cream") 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.


Reference Desk

The Crittenden Automotive Library's "Reference Desk" is a collection of materials that cannot be shared due to copyright restrictions. Information from these resources, however, can be shared. Go to the Reference Desk page for more information.

TypeTitle
1995 BookGod on a Harley by Joan Brady; Pocket Books
2005 BookThe Ultimate Harley-Davidson An encyclopedia of the definitive motorbike from classic to custom - exploring the legend of an American dream by Mac McDiarmid; Hermes House


Images

Harley-Davidson Clipart Public domain clip art image from WP Clipart
View Harley-Davidson Clipart, 22KB
Harley-Davidson Clipart Public domain clip art image from WP Clipart
4KB
Harley-Davidson No auction information - Mecum Auctions
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 3.8MB
Harley-Davidson No auction information - Mecum Auctions
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 3.8MB
Harley-Davidson No auction information - Mecum Auctions
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 3.6MB
Harley-Davidson No auction information - Mecum Auctions
2013 Mecum Chicago Auction
Photo ©2013 Bill Crittenden
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 3.7MB
Harley-Davidson Gas Pump Display Case Gas Pump Display Case
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
for $1,100 at the Mecum 2012 Fall Premier Auction
View photo of Harley-Davidson Gas Pump Display Case - 1.4MB
Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS Harley Heartbeat Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat"
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat" - 3.9MB
Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS Harley Heartbeat Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat"
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat" - 4.1MB
Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS Harley Heartbeat Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat"
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat" - 3.9MB
Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS Harley Heartbeat Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat"
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of Chevrolet Silverado 454-SS "Harley Heartbeat" - 5.0MB


Unidentified Photographs

If you know more information about these Harley-Davidson motorcycles, such as the specific model, please e-mail admin@carsandracingstuff.com.

Harley-Davidson Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 3,910KB
Harley-Davidson Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 3,915KB
Harley-Davidson Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 4,480KB
Harley-Davidson Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
2011 Attack of the Plastic
View photo of Harley-Davidson Model - 2,182KB
Harley-Davidson Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
Note from Bill: Classic big motorcycle. Tough guy in a black Harley-Davidson t-shirt. Black leather saddlebags. Is that a Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick-wrapping paper present on the back? Yes, yes it is!
View photo of Harley-Davidson - 2,182KB


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
6 May 2000HARLEY-DAVIDSON BARBIES HELP MU PROFESSOR STUDY REPUTATIONUniversity of Missouri-Columbia News Bureau
1 August 2001What Makes Harleys So Special? Ted Landphair, VOA News
8 February 2002RIDE AMERICA OFFERS UPSCALE MOTORCYCLE TOURS FOR HARLEY-LOVING EXECUTIVESRide America
2 August 2003America Celebrates 100 Years of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Bernie Bernard
18 September 2003Tommy Thompson: Secretary of Health and Harley ServicesNoise Free America
1 November 2003Harley-Davidson's 100th - Big Video for a Big Celebration.United Visual, Inc.
8 April 2006American Motorcycle Company Opens First China DealershipVOA News
12 April 2006Harley Davidson Roars Into China George Dwyer
2 June 2006Why Choose Harley Davidson Motorcycle Parts?Karen Nodalo
2 August 2006Harley Suspension: The Reason for Harley Bikes' GreatnessFlorante Cay
16 August 2006Remarks at Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations in York, PennsylvaniaPresident George W. Bush
12 July 2008Harley-Davidson compra MV Agusta Wikinotizie
9 January 2009Cruise Barcelona, Spain in a Harley-Davidson MotorcycleCasanova by Rafael Hotels
29 May 2011Harley-Davidson Motorcycle FansSherry Tingley
18 July 2011Demand Kick-Starts Hope at Iconic Motorcycle MakerVOA News
19 July 2011Demand Kick-Starts Hope at Iconic Motorcycle MakerVOA Breaking News
17 October 2011A Few Things To Know About Harley Davidson Motorcycles For SaleAdriana Noton
31 January 2012Hog Culture Ted Landphair, VOA News
26 June 2012Harley-Davidson-Parade fand in Hamburg stattWikinews
9 April 2013Harley-Davidson Grand-Lyon organise la première soirée Chrome & Roses ! Guillaume Héliot, Le Crieur Public
22 July 2013Dream Cars: Harley Hot RodBill Crittenden
6 June 2014KBC America, Inc., Receipt of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncomplianceFederal Register: NHTSA (Jeffrey M. Giuseppe)
14 August 2014KBC America, Inc., Grant of Petition for Decision of Inconsequential NoncomplianceFederal Register: NHTSA (Jeffrey M. Giuseppe)
18 February 2015MCCD Harley??? Why??? Gus Philpott, The Woodstock Advocate
4 December 2015Ride Along with Summit Racing and Harley-Davidson® Racers During Operation Appreciation 2015Summit Racing Equipment
22 December 2015New at Summit Racing Equipment: Daytona Twin Tec Fuel Injection Controllers and Ignition Parts for Harley-Davidson® MotorcyclesSummit Racing Equipment
24 February 2016Military AutoSource Hosts Annual Harley-Davidson Giveaway for U.S. Troops in the Middle EastMilitary AutoSource
30 March 2016Factory Racer Inspired Gas Tanks For Custom Harley-Davidson MotorcyclesLowbrow Customs
13 May 2016The Who’s Who Magazine Has the Scoop on Milwaukee Bucks Development— Launch & Showcase to be Held at Harley-Davidson MuseumContractors Register Inc.
1 August 2016Ray Price's History Featured in Harley-Davidson Museum Exhibit “Drag Racing: America’s Fast Time”Ray Price Harley-Davidson
8 August 2016New AMSOIL V-Twin Oil Change Kit Offers Riders Maximum ConvenienceAmsoil Inc.


Classified Ads

DateLocationDescriptionPrice
23 February 2013Merrillville, Indiana, USA 2011 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson Edition 4x4N/A




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