Harley-Davidson: 1st model ever

Harley-Davidson logo
logo 1910
Prototype: Harley-Davidson "Model 0"

First model: Harley-Davidson "Model 1"

Category: Motorcycles

Subcategory: Motor-bicycles

Inventors: William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson

Producer: Harley-Davidson Motor Company (founded by William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson and William A. Davidson in 1903)

Prototype made in: 1903

Production start: 1905 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Prototype features: In early 1901, William S. Harley, who was only 21 years old, has developed a project for a small engine capacity of 7.07 cubic inches. The following two years, Harley and his childhood friend Arthur Davidson labored on their bike with an engine using a garage in the house of their friend, Henry Melk. The work was completed by 1903. This was followed immediately by work on a new, more modern motorcycle. This first "real" Harley-Davidson motorcycle had a bigger engine is 24.74 cubic inches (405 cm³) with 9-3/4 inch flywheels weighing 28 pounds crankshaft. The prototype was completed September 8, 1904 and on the same day took part in motorcycle racing at the State Fair Park. Rider was Edward Hildebrand, he finished the race in fourth place. This race was the first documented appearance of Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

First model features: The 1905 Harley-Davidson Model No. 1 was almost identical to the bikes built in 1903 and '04. Engine: Inlet-over-exhaust single. Capacity: 24.74cu. in. (405.41cc). Transmission: Single-speed, belt drive. Frame: Tubular loop. Weight: 1851b (84kg). Top speed (est.): 40mph (64km/h). Pedal-power was often needed when the engine alone did not provide enough power.

Interesting facts: In January 1905, small advertisements were placed in the Automobile and Cycle Trade Journal offering 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 five built in the Davidson backyard shed. In 1906 a new factory, measuring 28 x 80 feet, is built on the Chestnut St. site, later renamed Juneau Avenue. Staff size is increased to six full-time employees. Also, the first motorcycle catalog is produced by the Company and the nickname "Silent Gray Fellow" is used for the first time. The company produced about 50 motorcycles that year. Harley-Davidson Motor Company is incorporated on September 17, 1907. The stock is split four ways among the four founders, and staff size has more than doubled from the previous year to eighteen employees.

Property: Harley-Davidson Inc.

Producer website: http://www.harleydavidson.com

Harley-Davidson 1903-1904 side A
Harley-Davidson 1903-1904 side B
Harley-Davidson "Model 0" (1903-1904)

Harley-Davidson 1905 side A
Harley-Davidson 1905 side B
Harley-Davidson "Model 1" (1905)

Harley-Davidson first factory
The first Harley-Davidson factory (1904), 10-x-15-ft (3-x-4.5-m) wooden shed with the words "Harley-Davidson Motor Co." crudely scrawled on the door.

Harley-Davidson first logo appearance
The famed "Bar & Shield" logo was used in 1910 for the first time. Trademarked at the U.S. Patent Office one year later.

Harley-Davidson advertising May 24, 1908
Harley-Davidson advertising Dec. 20, 1908
Harley-Davidson, advertisements 1908 (Los Angeles herald, top: May 24, bottom: Dec. 20)

Harley-Davidson advertising May 16, 1909
Harley-Davidson advertising May 23, 1909
Harley-Davidson advertising May 30, 1909
Harley-Davidson, advertisements 1909 (The Washington times, from top: May 16 - 23 - 30)

Harley-Davidson inventors
The inventors of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle. William Sylvester Harley (Milwaukee, Dec. 29, 1880 - Sep. 18, 1943), mechanical engineer, and Arthur Davidson (Milwaukee, Feb. 11, 1881 - Waukesha, Dec. 30, 1950), secretary and sales manager.

Harley-Davidson founders
The founders of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company standing outside of the office and shop entrances. From left: Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson, William Harley and William Davidson.

Harley-Davidson 120th Anniversary - 2023 CVO Road Glide model
Harley-Davidson 120th Anniversary (1903-2023): the CVO Road Glide Limited Anniversary model, and the Homecoming Celebration (Milwaukee, USA, July 13-16, 2023)