The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

 
Previous posts: The history of Harley Davidson 1900-1909

 

The unstoppable growth

The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

 

Nothing stops the progress and prosperity of the United States, nor the entry into the First World War in April 1917. It is heading to be the great power of the West, supported by technological development and powerful economic development. After the war and Europe destroyed, nothing will overshadow its undisputed geopolitical leadership.

Women begin to fight for their rights claiming to be participants in the democratic life of the country with women’s suffrage, a claim that was made real throughout the decade in some states and culminates in 1920 with the nineteenth amendment of the Constitution.

In New York, the tallest building in the world, the Woolworth building, is built.

The National Association of roads begins a movement to promote the development of a national network that includes all the capitals and most important cities of the country.

The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

Ford T assembly line | The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

And, among other things, the first movie studios in Hollywood are opened, where Charles Chaplin gets success, year after year.

In 1910, the car became a very popular means of transportation, producing some 120,000 Ford T, followed by another 10 million in the following decade.

The bikes are still very primitive, their driving is quite difficult, you have to release the handlebar to regulate the richness of the mixture, therefore, the acceleration. The front brakes do not exist and there are still pedals, although a kickstart has been added to start faster.

Electric lighting takes over from the acetylene light, but its operation depends on a dynamo, so to see well and have good visibility you must accelerate.

The bikes are still very primitive, their driving is quite difficult, you have to release the handlebar to regulate the richness of the mixture, therefore, the acceleration. The front brakes do not exist and there are still pedals, although a kickstart has been added to start faster.

 

The evolution and the thrust of the war

The history of  Harley Davidson 1910-1919

 

The development and the technological progress of the automobile change the landscape of the country and change the customs of the society, little by little the horses and the carriages are left aside and the driving a means of transport with motor becomes something every day.

Motorcycles, despite their complexity to drive, begin to become more popular and many curious adventurers are determined to achieve feats with them from coast to coast throughout the country and always faster than its predecessor.

Both the car and the motorcycle are becoming a sport.

Even women become fans of this new machine taking them to the extreme, in 1916 the Van Buren sisters are the first to go from coast to coast aboard two Indian.

The Indian brand is a pioneer in the market surpassing sales and technology to the Harley Davidson, which remains a small family business alongside its competitor.

The Milwaukee company is fully committed to consolidate and take a larger piece of cake, expands its dealer network to 200 in 1913 and seeks public orders in the police, army and other state agencies.

At the same time, the technical managers re-launch the V-twin, but this time with clutch, side valve and intake in the head and, according to the legend, with the revolving grip accelerator, invented by Indian in 1907.

In 1911 he joins the William Ottaway company that turns the quiet V-twin into real racing machines.

The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

Harley Davidson in I World War | The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

The war in Europe begins and the bulk of the supply of bikes to the army is provided by Indian with 40,000 vehicles, Harley Davidson contributes only 20,000 units. The interesting thing about this is that Indian neglects the domestic civil market, which makes the Milwaukee brand, once the hostilities ended, a leader in the US.

Once the war is over, the soldiers come back already trained, converted to the car and the motorcycle, the change ends up being consolidated.

The war in Europe begins and the bulk of the supply of bikes to the army is provided by Indian with 40,000 vehicles, Harley Davidson contributes only 20,000 units. The interesting thing about this is that Indian neglects the domestic civil market, which makes the Milwaukee brand, once the hostilities ended, a leader in the US.

The industrial effort caused by the war generates a natural selection of motorcycle manufacturers, where workshops with less financial and operational muscle disappear around 1920. Only Harley, Indian and Excelsior are successful in this effort, therefore, have no competitors in the market.

 

Significates events of the decade:

The history of  Harley Davidson 1910-1919

 

  • 1910: Harley Davidson begins to design and sell biker clothes. Starting the MotorClothes department
  • 1911: The V-twin reappears but this time you can drive, thanks to the incorporation of a clutch. And the rotating grip accelerator.
  • 1912: The V-twin 1,000 cubic cm with chain transmission or leather strap is launched.
  • 1913: 13,000 motorcycles are manufactured. At the end of this year the Racing Department is created.
  • 1914: The first sidecars are launched on the market.
  • 1915: Bill Ottaway’s “Wrecking Crew” wins his first major race in Venice.

 

The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

Harley Davidson “Wrecking Crew” | The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919

 

  • 1916: Appearance of the electric lighting and the starter pedal on the Harley.
  • 1917: The first Harley arrive to France, the US enters into war.
  • 1918: On November 12 a US soldier enters Germany with a Harley Davidson.
  • 1919: Harley Davidson manufactures a two-cylinder engine in line long before BMW. It’s the Sport Twin, however it is not successful. It is a soft and very comfortable bike.

 

Source: “Harleymanía” of Jean Savary

Klauer & Iannuzzi | 2018 | The history of Harley Davidson 1910-1919