William S. Harley, age 21, completes a blueprint drawing of an engine designed to fit into a bicycle.
William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson make available to the public the first production Harley-Davidson® motorcycle. The bike was built to be a racer, with a 3-1/8 inch bore and 3-1/2 inch stroke. The factory in which they worked was a 10 x 15-foot wooden shed with the words "Harley-Davidson Motor Company" crudely scrawled on the door. Arthur's brother Walter later joins their efforts.
Henry Meyer of Milwaukee, a schoolyard pal of William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson, buys one of the 1903 models directly from the founders.
The six-year-old Harley-Davidson Motor Company introduces its first V-twin powered motorcycle. With a displacement of 49.5 cubic inches, the bike produces seven horsepower. The image of two cylinders in a 45-degree configuration would fast become one of the most enduring icons of Harley-Davidson history. Also available for the first time from the Motor Company are spare parts for motorcycles.
Whether you're a die hard Harley rider or you wouldn't be caught pushing one around a deserted parking lot, there is no denying that few motorcycle companies have achieved the success that Harley-Davidson has over their 112 year history. But who were the visionaries behind this iconic brand?
Most would guess that it was probably some guy named Harley and his partner Davidson, which would be pretty close to the truth. A more complete version is that Harley-Davidson was founded by William Harley and the three Davidson brothers: Arthur, William and Walter.
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