The Four Founders of Harley-Davidson

At the turn of the 20th Century, four young men decided to follow their dreams and start a motorcycle company. Harley-Davidson Motor Company was born in 1903 when William S. Harley (22) and his friend Arthur Davidson (22) convinced Arthur’s brother Walter (27) to help them finish building the first Harley-Davidson® motorcycle to be sold to the public.   

The bike was built to be a racer with a 3 1/8 inch bore and 3 ½ inch stroke. The factory in which they worked was a 10x15 foot wooden shed with the words “Harley-Davidson Motor Company” painted on the door.

In 1907, William A. Davidson (37), brother to Arthur and Walter Davidson, quit his job as tool foreman for the Milwaukee Road Railroad and joined the Motor Company.

You can find out more about this amazing start-up story and the men behind it at the links below. Caption: Walter Davidson seated at desk. Standing: William S. Harley, William A. Davidson, Arthur Davidson (1930)

Caption: Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson, William A. Davidson, William S. Harley (1936)