Tracking Down the History of Harley-Davidson
Popularly abbreviated as H-D, Harley Davidson Bike Company is an American company known for its best motorcycle models. It was established during the first ten years into the 20th century and located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The company made history by being one of the only two major motorcycle manufacturing companies in America that survived the Great Depression. Besides, it also went through a poor quality control period as well as an unfair competition by manufacturing companies in Japan successfully.
History of Harley Davidson is a long one. At the age of 22, in the year 1901, William Harley developed plans to replace the 7.07 cc and the 102mm (4-inch) flywheels with small-sized engines. He designed the engine so that it could be used in a more regular pedal (bicycle) frame. Alongside his childhood friend, Arthur Davidson, Harley made adjustments on his bicycle using a machine at the Milwaukee shop situated at his other friend known as Henry Melk. In 1903, with assistance from his brother, Walter Davidson, Harley launched his motorbike.
When they put their machine on test, they established that it was unable to maneuver through the inclinations around Milwaukee but could only do so with assistance from the pedals. This led to their writing it off as an experiment. After this failed attempt, they embarked on a serious note on developing a new and much more improved second-generation motorbike. This one had a bigger engine of size 405cc (24.74 c-inches), flywheels measuring 25 cm (9.75-inches) and weight of 13kg (28lb). The advanced loop frame of this machine, as the history of Harley Davidson goes, was more or less the same as a design by Joseph Merkel, the Milwaukee Merkel Motorcycle model.
The first sample model from the Harley Davidson Bike Company was put together in a shed at the backyard of the Davidson family measuring 3.0 x 4.6m (10 x 15 ft.) however, most parts were produced elsewhere. Of course some were a fabrication by William A Davidson, a toolroom foreman at the Milwaukee railshop. By September 8, 1904, the sample machine was functional and competed in the State Fair Park motorcycle race. It came forth under the stewardship of Edward Hildebrand. Definitely, in the history of Harley Davidson, it was the first ever appearance of the H-D motorcycle to be documented.
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering, in 1907, William S. Harley, he initiated the expansion of the Harley Davidson Bike Company starting with a second floor and later the additions and facings on the Milwaukee pale yellow brick. This led to an increased level of motorcycle production to 150 in the year 1907, which was start of large scale production of Harley Davidson Bike Company.