The history of Harley Davidson

The history of Harley Davidson 1900-1909

Introduction

The history of Harley Davidson 1900-1909

 

The history of Harley Davidson is curious, because the brand is an emblem, it is much more than a motorcycle manufacturer, it could be considered as a manufacturer of emotions and generator of dreams.

A history with successes and failures, the history of a century, of comings and goings, very united to the history of a country, wars and post-wars and many misunderstandings.

A brand that since the beginning has always been very conservative, its development has been closely linked to the “politically correct” because it has always motorized more frequently policemen and soldiers than rebels and much more to bourgeois than marginal.

The history of Harley Davidsonon

Brand logo | The history of Harley Davidson

Today is the image of rebellion, of a way of life, of a revolution generated in post-war American society that reaches our days. That image throughout all these years has kept it alive, with ups and downs, of course, but it has allowed the generation of a club of faithful throughout the 5 continents that sustain the living spirit, increasing mysticism and passing it on from generation to generation.

As we discussed in the preceding paragraphs, much misunderstanding has occurred in this, coincidences and a skillful marketing work of the company, which has understood that selling experiences, dreams and emotions, is much more profitable than selling the product itself.

Throughout a series of posts we will try to tell the biography of this brand, a symbol for all lovers of motorcycles and the lifestyle it represents.

Today is the image of rebellion, of a way of life, of a revolution generated in post-war American society that reaches our days. That image throughout all these years has kept it alive, with ups and downs, of course, but it has allowed the generation of a club of faithful throughout the 5 continents that sustain the living spirit, increasing mysticism and passing it on from generation to generation.

 

The precursors

The history of Harley Davidson 1900-1909

 

In 1900 the first steam locomotives circulated in the USA and on the east coast of the country the first automobiles and some motorcycles began to circulate.

In 1903 the automaker Henry Ford presented model A converted 5 years later into the best-selling model T. Model that popularized the production chain, drastically reducing production costs, allowing the American middle class to buy their first car.

The Wright brothers make their first flight and a wireless line of telegraphy is established between London and New York.

Two friends, Arthur Davidson and William Harley want to put a motor to a bicycle, have spent time investigating how, accumulate such amount of engine parts that Arthur’s father, decides to build a small warehouse of 15 square meters in the yard of the house for that your child and his friend experience without affecting the day to day of the family.

The History of Harley Davidson

Arthur Davidson y William Harley | The history of Harley Davidson

They work based on plans of an engine of De Dion-Bouton and notes of the Germans Hildebrand Wolfmuller who are the inventors of the first motorcycle. They are joined by Arthur’s brothers, Walter and William. From this small store will be the first motorcycle of the brand, at a price of 200 dollars.

The success of the new company is very great, in 1909 more than 1,000 vehicles are produced per year.

It is a vehicle that has all the characteristics that the society of the moment needs, in a country with immense dimensions it becomes an ideal means of transport for all, it is much cheaper than a car, easy to repair and with an economic maintenance, It adapts perfectly to families, travelers, merchants and … for the police. The Detroit`s police was the first one to use it.

By the end of the decade, more than 100,000 motorcycles circulate through the country, especially Indian, which is the pioneer brand in the country.

Two friends, Arthur Davidson and William Harley want to put a motor to a bicycle, have spent time investigating how, accumulate such amount of engine parts that Arthur’s father, decides to build a small warehouse of 15 square meters in the yard of the house for that your child and his friend experience without affecting the day to day of the family.

Technically it is a very limited vehicle, to disengage and change gears, even accelerate, you must release the handlebar. It starts pedaling and to brake, you have to stop the engine or disengage the belt.

Obviously the failures were many and you should have or try to learn quickly basic mechanics, to try to repair it at that moment.

But, really, this means of transportation generates a revolution to move around the country and little by little, the horse is replaced by these new machines that have a promising future.
 

Significates events of the decade:

The history of Harley Davidson 1900-1909

 

  • 1901: Oscar Hedström and George Hendee make the first Indian. They will always maintain this advantage over time with Harley-Davidson.
  • 1903: First prototype Harley-Davidson, a bicycle with a 405 cubic cm engine that reaches 40 km / h. Painted with piano paint with golden fillets from Aunt Janet Davidson.
  • 1905: The “black piano” gives way to the Renault Gray that together with a new exhaust system is worth the name “Silent Gray Fellow”.

 

The history of Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson “Silent grey fellow” | The history of Harley Davidson

 

  • 1906: The first workshop on Chestnut Street is built.
  • 1907: Walter Davidson becomes the first president of the company. The Springer fork appears.
  • 1908: On June 29, Walter Davidson wins a endurance race with a “Silent Gray Fellow” and the following weekend wins the Economic Run of Long Island, traveling 303 km with a consumption of 1.25 l / 100 km.
  • 1909: First V-Twin of Harley Davidson, one year after the Indian. The lack of clutch makes it impossible to drive the motorcycle.

 

Source: “Harleymanía” of Jean Savary

Klauer & Iannuzzi | 2018 | The history of Harley Davidson