The Moore American

October 16, 2013

Harley-Davidson celebrates past


The Moore American

MOORE — HOG is the acronym for Harley Owners Group. The group was organized 30 years ago to build friendships between Harley owners seeking adventure.

Harley-Davidson’s humble history began at the start of the 20th century. William S. Harley, born in 1880, and Arthur Davidson, born in 1881, lived next door to each other in Milwaukee, Wis. While the two friends were working in a local manufacturing plant, they decided to build an internal combustion engine to be used on bicycles. They became friends with a German co-worker who was familiar with the De Dion engine already being used in Europe. With his help, they designed a small air-cooled engine.

Arthur’s brother, Walter Davidson, who was working as a machinist was recruited for their bicycle engine project. In 1903, Davidson brothers Arthur and Walter along with William S. Harley built a single cylinder motorcycle in a wooden shed.

The Davidson brother’s aunt Janet painted the pin-stripes on the first few Harleys. Harley-Davidson built and sold three single-cylinder motorcycles in 1903. They built and sold three more motorcycles in 1904.

In 1905, the first Harley-Davidson to be produced in significant numbers was the Silent Gray Fellow named for its quite operation and gray color. These were 450cc single cylinder bikes using a bicycle-style frame. To slow down and stop the rider had to peddle backwards.

Harley-Davidson history is full of ups and downs. Harley was bought by American Machine and Foundry in 1969. In 1981, senior management bought the company back from AMF.

Harley slowly came back in the 80s and now Harley-Davidson is one of the most recognized names in the world. In 1983 Harley Owners Group was formed with 30,000 members in the first year. Now there are about a million HOG members world wide.

— Source: harley- riders-guide.com