William S. Harley 1880-1943
William A. Davidson 1870-1937
Arthur Davidson 1881-1950
Walter Davidson 1876-1942

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In 1901, William S. Harley, age 21, 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 labored 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 completion the boys found their
power-cycle unable to conquer Milwaukee's modest hills without
pedal assistance. Will Harley and the Davidsons 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 would help define what a
modern motorcycle should contain in the years to come. 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 × 15 ft (3.0 × 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" that offered 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 dozen or so built in the Davidson
backyard shed. (Some 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. Unfortunately,
the first shed was accidentally destroyed by contractors in the
early 1970s during a clean-up of the factory yard.)

In 1906, Harley and the Davidson brothers built their first factory on
Chestnut Street (later Juneau Avenue). This location remains
Harley-Davidson's corporate headquarters today. The first Juneau
Avenue plant was a 40 × 60 ft (12 × 18 m) single-story wooden
structure. The company produced about 50 motorcycles that year.

Production in 1905 and 1906 were all single-cylinder models with
26.84 cubic inches (440 cc) engines. In February 1907 a prototype
model with a 45-degree V-Twin engine was displayed at the
Chicago Automobile Show. Although shown and advertised, very
few V-Twin models were built between 1907 and 1910. These first
V-Twins displaced 53.68 cubic inches (880 cc) and produced about
7 horsepower (5.2 kW). This gave about double the power of the
first singles. Top speed was about 60 mph (100 km/h). Production
jumped from 450 motorcycles in 1908 to 1,149 machines in 1909.
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.

By 1911, some 150 makes of motorcycles had already been built in
the United States – although just a handful would survive the
In 1911, an improved V-Twin model was introduced. The new
engine had mechanically operated intake valves, as opposed to
the "automatic" intake valves used on earlier V-Twins that opened
by engine vacuum. With a displacement of 49.48 cubic inches (811
cc), the 1911 V-Twin was smaller than earlier twins, but gave better
performance. After 1913 the majority of bikes produced by
Harley-Davidson would be V-Twin models.

By 1913, the yellow brick factory had been demolished and on the
site a new 5-story structure of reinforced concrete and red brick
had been built. Begun in 1910, the red brick factory with its many
additions would take up two blocks along Juneau Avenue and
around the corner on 38th Street. Despite the competition,
Harley-Davidson was already pulling ahead of Indian and would
dominate motorcycle racing after 1914. Production that year
swelled to 16,284 machines.

World War I 1914-1918
In 1917, the United States entered World War I and the military
demanded motorcycles for the war effort. Harleys had already
been used by the military in the Pancho Villa Expedition but World
War I was the first time the motorcycle had been adopted for
combat service. Harley-Davidson provided about 15,000 machines
to the military forces during World War I.

By 1920, Harley-Davidson was the largest motorcycle
manufacturer in the world. Their motorcycles were sold by dealers
in 67 countries. Production was 28,189 machines.In 1921, a
Harley-Davidson, ridden by Otto Walker, was the first motorcycle
ever towin a race at an average speed of over 100 mph (160
km/h).During the 1920s, several improvements were put in place,
such as anew 74 cubic inch (1200 cc) V-Twin, introduced in 1922,
and the "Teardrop" gas tank in 1925. A front brake was added in
1928.In the late summer of 1929, Harley-Davidson introduced its 45
cubic inches (737 cc) flathead V-Twin to compete with the Indian
101 Scout and the Excelsior Super X. This was the "D" model,
produced from 1929 to 1931. Riders of Indian motorcycles
derisively referred to this model as the "three cylinder Harley"
because the generator was upright and parallel to the front
cylinder.The 2.745 in (69.7 mm) bore and 3.8125 in (96.8 mm) stroke
would continue in most versions of the 750 engine; exceptions
include the XA and the XR750.

The Great Depression
Harley-Davidson 1200 cc SV 1931The Great Depression began a
few months after the introduction of their 45 cubic inch model.
Harley-Davidson's sales plummeted from 21,000 in 1929 to 3,703 in
1933. Despite those dismal numbers, Harley-Davidson proudly
unveiled its lineup for 1934, which included a Flathead with Art
Deco styling.
In order to survive the remainder of the Depression, the company
manufactured industrial powerplants based on their motorcycle
engines. They also designed and built a three-wheeled delivery
vehicle called the Servi-Car, which remained in production until
1973.In the mid 1930s, Alfred Rich Child opened a production line
in Japan with the 74 cubic inches (1,210 cc) VL. The Japanese
license-holder severed its business relations with Harley-Davidson
in 1936 and continued manufacturing the VL under the Rikuo

An 80 cubic inches (1,300 cc) flathead engine was added to the line
in 1935, by which time the single-cylinder motorcycles had been
discontinued.In 1936, the 61E and 61EL models with the
"Knucklehead" OHV engines was introduced. Valvetrain problems
in early Knucklehead engines required a redesign halfway through
its first year of production and retrofitting of the new valvetrain on
earlier engines. By 1937, all Harley-Davidson's flathead engines
were equipped with dry-sump oil recirculation systems similar to
the one introduced in the "Knucklehead" OHV engine. The revised
74 cubic inches (1,210 cc) V and VL models were renamed U and
UL, the 80 cubic inches (1,300 cc) VH and VLH to be renamed UH
and ULH, and the 45 cubic inches (740 cc) R to be renamed W.
In 1941, the 74 cubic inches (1,210 cc) "Knucklehead" was
introduced as the F and the FL. The 80 cubic inches (1,300 cc)
flathead UH and ULH models were discontinued after 1941, while
the 74" U & UL flathead models were produced up to 1948.

World War II 1941-1945
Harley copied the BMW R71 to produce its XA model.One of only
two American cycle manufacturers to survive the Great
Depression, Harley-Davidson again produced large numbers of
motorcycles for the US Army in World War II and resumed civilian
production afterwards, producing a range of large V-twin
motorcycles that were successful both on racetracks and for
private buyers.Harley-Davidson, on the eve of World War II, was
already supplying the Army with a military-specific version of its
45 cubic inches (740 cc) WL line, called the WLA. (The A in this
case stood for "Army".) Upon the outbreak of war, the company,
along with most other manufacturing enterprises, shifted to war
work. Over 90,000 military motorcycles, mostly WLAs and WLCs
(the Canadian version) would be produced, many to be provided
to allies. Harley-Davidson received two Army-Navy ‘E’ Awards,
one in 1943 and the other in 1945, which were awarded for
Excellence in Production.

Harley produced the WLC for the Canadian military.Shipments to
the Soviet Union under the Lend-Lease program numbered at
least 30,000.[citation needed] The WLAs produced during all four
years of war production generally have 1942 serial numbers.
Production of the WLA stopped at the end of World War II, but was
resumed from 1950 to 1952 for use in the Korean War.The U.S.
Army also asked Harley-Davidson to produce a new motorcycle
with many of the features of BMW's side-valve and shaft-driven
R71. Harley largely copied the BMW engine and drive train and
produced the shaft-driven 750 cc 1942 Harley-Davidson XA. This
shared no dimensions, no parts and no design concepts (except
side valves) with any prior Harley-Davidson engine. Due to the
superior cooling of the flat-twin engine with the cylinders across
the frame, Harley's XA cylinder heads ran 100 °F (56 °C) cooler
than its V-twins. The XA never entered full production: the
motorcycle by that time had been eclipsed by the Jeep as the
Army's general purpose vehicle, and the WLA—already in
production—was sufficient for its limited police, escort, and
courier roles. Only 1,000 were made and the XA never went into
full production. It remains the only shaft-driven Harley-Davidson
ever made.
Tarnished Reputation
In 1952, following their application to the US Tariff Commission for
a 40% tax on imported motorcycles, Harley-Davidson was
charged with restrictive practices. Hollywood also damaged
Harley's image with many outlaw biker gang films produced from
the 1950s through the 1970s, following the Hollister riot on July 4,
1947. "Harley-Davidson" for a long time was synonymous with
the Hells Angels and other outlaw motorcyclists.

In 1969, American Machinery and Foundry (AMF) bought the
company, streamlined production, and slashed the workforce.
This tactic resulted in a labor strike and a lower quality of bikes.
The bikes were expensive and inferior in performance, handling,
and quality to Japanese motorcycles. Sales declined, quality
plummeted, and the company almost went bankrupt. The
"Harley-Davidson" name was mocked as "Hardly Ableson",
"Hardly Driveable," and "Hogly Ferguson", and the nickname
"Hog" became pejorative.In 1977, Harley-Davidson produced
what has become one of its most controversial models, the
Confederate Edition. The bike was essentially a stock Harley with
Confederate-specific paint and details.
1980 - Present
Restructuring and Revival
In 1981, AMF sold the company to a group of thirteen investors led
by Vaughn Beals and Willie G. Davidson for $80 million. Inventory
was strictly controlled using the just-in-time system.In the early
eighties, Harley-Davidson claimed that Japanese manufacturers
were importing motorcycles into the US in such volume as to
harm or threaten to harm domestic producers. After an
investigation by the US International Trade Commission,
President Reagan imposed in 1983 a 45% tariff on imported bikes
and bikes over 700 cc engine capacity. Harley Davidson
subsequently rejected offers of assistance from Japanese
motorcycle makers.

The new management deliberately exploited the "retro" appeal of
the machines, building motorcycles that deliberately adopted the
look and feel of their earlier machines and the subsequent
customizations of owners of that era. Many components such as
brakes, forks, shocks, carburetors, electrics and wheels were
outsourced from foreign manufacturers and quality increased,
technical improvements were made and buyers slowly returned.

In August 2009, Harley-Davidson announced plans to enter the
market in India, where, according to press releases, it expects to
start selling its motorcycles in 2010. The company has established
a subsidiary to be located in Gurgaon, near Delhi, and has begun
the process of seeking dealers.[67] Plans to enter the Indian
market have been delayed for several years, due to high tariffs and
emissions regulations. The pollution regulations have recently
changed, but the tariff problem is yet unresolved.

In 2007, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and the
Minister for Commerce and Industry of India, Kamal Nath, had
agreed that Harley-Davidson motorcycles will be allowed access
to the Indian market in exchange for the export of Indian mangoes.
However, India had not specified emission standards for
motorcycles over 500 cc displacement, effectively prohibiting the
import of Harley-Davidsons, along with most models of other
manufacturers. Plans to export to India were also held up by
import duties of 60% and taxes of 30%, which effectively doubled
the sale price. A Harley-Davidson spokesman said the company
thinks demand is high enough to overcome the tariffs, and chief
operating officer Matt Levatich said they would continue to push
for lower tariffs.

Harley Davidson is introducing 12 models in India from the range
of five motorcycle families, namely Sportster, Dyna, VRSC, Softail
and CVO. The motorcycles are completely built units and will be
imported to India, thus attracting a tax over 100% in the price
range of 695,000 rupees and 3,495,000 rupees ex-showroom. The
bookings might start from April 2010 and the motorcycle delivery
will commence from June 2010. To begin with, Harley Davidson
would have five dealerships (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore,
Hyderabad and Chandigarh) with the aim of increasing the
dealerships to more than 20 in the next five years. In November
2010, Harley-Davidson said that it will start an assembly facility for
complete knock down (CKD) kits of its motorcycles in India by the
first half of 2011, making it only the second CKD facility outside
the US.

Financial Crisis
According to Interbrand, the value of the Harley-Davidson brand
fell by 43% to $4.34 billion in 2009. The fall in value is believed to
be connected to the 66% drop in the company profits in two
quarters of the previous year. On April 29, 2010, Harley-Davidson
stated that they must cut $54 million in manufacturing costs from
its production facilities in Wisconsin, and that they would explore
alternate U.S. sites to accomplish this. The announcement came in
the wake of a massive company-wide restructuring, which began
in early 2009 and involved the closing of two factories, one
distribution center, and the planned elimination of nearly 25% of
its total workforce (around 3,500 employees). The company
announced on September 14, 2010 that it would remain in

Origin of "Hog" Nickname
Beginning in 1920, a team of farm boys, including Ray Weishaar,
who became known as the "hog boys," consistently won races.
The group had a live hog as their mascot. Following a win, they
would put the hog on their Harley and take a victory lap. In 1983,
the Motor Company formed a club for owners of its product taking
advantage of the long-standing nickname by turning "hog" into
the acronym HOG., for Harley Owners Group. Harley-Davidson
attempted to trademark "hog", but lost a case against an
independent Harley-Davidson specialist, The Hog Farm of West
Seneca, NY, in 1999 when the appellate panel ruled that "hog" had
become a generic term for large motorcycles and was therefore
unprotectable as a trademark.

On August 15, 2006, Harley-Davidson Inc. had its NYSE ticker
symbol changed from HDI to HOG.
WHQG, a mainstream rock radio station which serves the
Milwaukee metropolitan area, uses the moniker in their official
callsign (102.9 The Hog) as a tribute to their home town
motorcycle manufacturer, as well as its fans and riders.
wikipedia.com Harley's revenue declined 3.8% in 2016.
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