HarleyDavidson Essay Research Paper There are many

Harley-Davidson Essay, Research Paper There are many stories about who made the first motorcycle. One of the early forms of motorcycles was a wooden framed bike with steam a engine on it.

Harley-Davidson Essay, Research Paper

There are many stories about who made the first motorcycle. One of the

early forms of motorcycles was a wooden framed bike with steam a engine on it.

This is one of the first motorcycles ever built. But the founder had his son try it

out and the engine started his pants on fire so the creator decided that there is

probably no future for this type of machine. No I am not about to tell you the

whole history of motorcycles I am just going to talk about one group of friends

whose dream became a reality. Those people are William S Harley and Arthur


The Harley-Davidson company started right after the turn of the century

in 1902. The two men built the first of many motorcycles, it was a 400cc (25ci)

single-cylinder engine. Just one year later the Harley-Davidson company added

two more employees, Arthur s two older brothers, Walter and William Davidson.

They started by trying any type of engine that they could fit onto a bicycle

frame. After a while they got one to work; the engine proved to be very reliable,

but underpowered. They decided to enlarge engine but still built it along similar

lines. The group built two more bikes by 1902, and three more the next year.*

By the year 1907, the Harley-Davidson company has started to make a

reputation for them selves, by building a reliable motorcycle. By now the

Harley-Davidson company has boosted production from one to three bikes to

about 150 bikes a year.*

It was time for an expansion. So they decided to divide shares

among 17 employees. The companies new location was on the other side of

Milwaukee. It was a big change from its first location which was in the Davidson

family s backyard. In the backyard they had only a 10 by 15 shed which the

Davidsons father helped them build.* Their new location is where the current

headquarters is today

The people credited with the start of the Harley-Davidson Company. Are

William S, Harley and Walter, William, and Arthur Davidson. William Harley was

born in 1880 and died on September 18, 1943. The cause of his death was

heart failure. During his life he was the chief engineer and the treasure for the

company. He went to school in 1903, to get his degree in engineering. He

thought it was necessary to compete in the marketplace. But when he wasn t

working for the company, he would probably be hunting or enjoying the fine arts

of that time period.

William Davidson was the oldest of the three brothers he was born in

1870, and died at the age of sixty-two, April 19, 1937. But during his time with

the company he was a general manager. He was also a highly skilled mechanic.

He was very compassionate to his employees and was known as Old Bill by


The next in line of the Davidson brothers was Walter, who was born in

1876, and died at the age of sixty-five on February 7, 1942. He was president of

the company and also was a skilled machinist. When Walter was not worrying

about the company he liked to race motorcycles: Harley-Davidson motorcycles,

of course.

Arthur was considered the most outgoing of the four founders. While his

brother was president he served as the companies secretary and general sales

manager. He stands out the most because he got a large number of people

throughout the united states to become Harley dealers. Arthur took his job very

seriously and did so until his death in a car crash, December 30, 1950.

One of the reasons why the company has lasted so long is because they

proved themselves to the military and motorcycles were quickly called to duty

during World War 1. By the time the war was over more than 20,000

motorcycles were used by the military.* When the great depression came

around no one had money to buy anything even motorcycles. The company

knew that and that is the reason why production dropped down to a low 3,700

motorcycles.* One of the main ways the company lasted through the depression

was by selling their product overseas; that worked for a while. Another way the

company lasted was by merging with the American Machine and Foundry

Company also known as AMF.

By the late thirties the company had made it through one world war, and

a counties depression, and it was still going strong. But when the Japanese

bombed Pearl Harbor the Harley-Davidson company was ready to swing into

action, and they did. The Harley-Davidson company again helped by producing

only military motorcycles. They also helped by a selling the military motorcycles

that could almost go any where. They also helped the military by giving them a

motorcycle which could go out and scout out the terrain before they moved in all

the big heavy slower vechials.

During the early years of the Harley-Davidson company most of the

buyers were young families just starting out, with little money and looking for a

mode of transportation. Their answer to the problem was to buy a Harley. But

during the 1950 s and the 1960 s, the image of a motorcycle rider changed to

being men and women that wore black leather jackets. That was not only a

fashion statement but a lifestyle. Now that all the wars and the depressions are

over, many babyboomers, going through mid-life crises, are discovering the pure

fun of cursing down the highway on a Harley-Davidson.

The future does not look like the company is going to stop and

close shop in the near future mainly because they don t need to. But as the

company approaches its 100th birthday it will probably be having some stiff

competion. Mainly because many new companies want to have the success that

the Harley-Davidson Company has. So many of the new companies are starting

to manufacture motorcycles that look and sound like Harleys. But the Big Dog

companies main high point is that if you buy his bike you don t have to customize

it your self because it all ready comes out of the factory looking and sounding

like a Harley the new bikes also sell for a lot cheaper price than

Harey-Davidson s. The company plans to open a new manufacturing plant which

should boost sales. The reason why this plan will help is because they will have

an easier time meeting the high demands of the public. That should help out a

little but if that doesn t work I am shure the company will find a way to solve the

problem if it comes up, besides you cant become a great motorcycle company by

siting around for almost one hundred years.

As we near the end of this paper you are still probably wondering what

makes Harleys stand above all their competion. Well in my oponion its the sound

of a Harley, its not like regular bikes where you can only hear the sound of the

motor. But when you stand next to a Harley as it reves up you can not only hear

the motor but you can feel it inside you. And the fact that they have lasted

almost 100 years and through good and bad times still made a great bike. In my

oponion that s what makes them so unique.

Now you know a little more about one of the oldest motorcycle makers,

and how it lasted so long. You also know what a dream and a little perseverance

can do for some people