MAY 30, 1912

Harley-Davidson established a new World's Road Race record in the 90-mile road race from Colorado Springs to Pueblo and back, with machines that came out victorious in both the single- and twin-cylinder classes. The “Gray Fellows” also won third place in both events. Overall, Harley-Davidson took four of the six places. All other makes were practically lost in the shuffle.

All the Harley-Davidsons were stock machines in every detail, and the consistent performance of the “Gray Fellows” who checked in as the winners is certainly a creditable performance. In the twin-cylinder class, there were thirteen starters. Only five finished. This gives some idea of the condition of the roads over which this contest was held.

A.W. Stratton, riding one of the new 7-8 H. P. Harley-Davidson chain twins, finished in first place in 1 hour, 54 minutes – the fastest road race of this length on record. Stratton’s average speed was 47.4 miles-per-hour, with top speeds close to 65 mph. In the single-cylinder class, G. Luby pulled down first place in 2 hours, 3 minutes with an average speed of 43.9 miles per hour – a road race record for a single-cylinder machine. Dr. Gibble, on a 7-8 H. P. chain Harley-Davidson, took third honors for the twin-cylinder class while Walter Whiting, also on a Harley, copped third place amongst single cylinders.

New World's Road Race Record by A.W. Stratton

New World's Road Race Record.

MAY 27, 1944

The Motor Maids of America received its charter from the American Motorcycle Association in 1941, shortly after it was founded by Linda Dugeau and Dot Robinson.   The motorcycle club started out with 51 members, the only requirement for membership being that a woman had to own and ride her own motorcycle.  Today the Motor Maids has over 1200 members and is the oldest women’s motorcycle club.  The club offers a way for women motorcyclists all over the United States and Canada to meet and ride together.  The first Motor Maids convention was held on May 27, 1944 and annual conventions continue to be held every July.  They participate in parades and other motorcycle events and are recognizable by their distinct uniform with white gloves.  This photo shows members at an event in 1967.

Motor Maids of America

The Motor Maids held their first formal convention in Columbia, Ohio.

MAY 24, 2001

Red Moon, a Japanese leather company, created a replica motorcycle made completely of leather and wanted to donate it to Harley-Davidson. After several frustrating days trying to clear it through customs, five Japanese visitors and their gift finally made it to Milwaukee. Red Moon spokesman, Koki Kobari, said it took two years to complete this leather piece of art. He explained that the head of Red Moon owns a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and wanted the replica to be both an example of their work and a tribute to Harley-Davidson.

Measuring more than six feet in length, this bike is a detailed reproduction of an Evolution-powered chopper, faithful to the smallest detail. Every feature is made of leather, including the chain, fuel valve, gas and oil caps, as well as the spark plug boots. There is even a tool pouch with leather tools.

Don’t just read about the bike, see it for yourself at the Harley-Davidson Museum! While not on display among official exhibits, the leather chopper resides in the Archives’ open storage in recognition of Red Moon’s generosity. From the upper floor of the Museum, walk past the Tank Wall, down the hallway toward the elevator. Take a peek through the window on your right, beside the Explore Drawers. A hidden gem.

Leather Motorcycle

HD Archives acquires leather motorcycle.

MAY 22, 1992

 William H. Davidson, son of co-founder, William A. Davidson, grew up immersed in Harley-Davidson culture.  He was an avid motorcyclist and won the 1930 Jack Pine Endurance Run with the highest score ever posted.  He began working for the company in 1928 and played an influential part in the continuing growth of the company.  He eventually replaced his uncle, Walter, as president in 1942 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1973.

As president, he led the company through World War II, during which time it earned the prestigious Army-Navy “E” Award for exceptional wartime production.  He also saw the development of the Model K, the FX Super Glide, and Harley-Davidson’s entrance into the snowmobile and golf car markets.  He oversaw the company’s expansion with the acquisition of the Capitol Drive and Tomahawk plants and its merger with AMF in 1969.  After his retirement, his sons, John and Willie G. continued to work as officers in the company and he maintained a deep interest in the progress of the company until his death in 1992.

William H. Davidson, founder of HD

The funeral was held for William H. Davidson, former President of the Harley-Davidson company and the son of founder, William A. Davidson.

MAY 14, 1912

After outgrowing the previous building within a few years, new construction on a 90,000-square-foot factory addition began in the spring of 1912. All of the concrete work (with the exception of a small part of the basement floor, which could not be laid until all the plumbing work had been installed) was completed by 9:45 on August 1, a mere 15 minutes before the contractual deadline. “During the 1913 season,” one employee said, “We expect to have room enough in the factory to turn around in without going outside to do it.”

Upon the completion of the reinforced concrete work, a Christmas tree was placed atop the elevator used to hoist concrete to the various floors. In Milwaukee, that meant that the workmen had completed their task successfully and were therefore entitled to free beer. Walter Davidson promptly complied with the old custom.

Construction on New Factory Addition

Construction Begins on New Factory Addition.

MAY 12, 1943

The Army/Navy E Award, also known as the Production Award, was given to companies that excelled in the production of wartime equipment.  The award consisted of a pennant and emblems for all employees to wear.  Harley-Davidson was presented with this award at a ceremony held at Juneau Avenue on May 12, 1943.  By the end of the war, the company earned three more E Awards for its exemplary work in war production.

Harley-Davidson received the Army-Navy E award

Harley-Davidson received the Army/Navy E award.

MAY 6, 1910

The “Bar & Shield” is one of the most recognized logos in the world.  Its earliest known appearance actually dates to 1908. It was used on the tool boxes of 1908 Harley-Davidson motorcycles.  In 1910, it began to appear on parts packaging and in company literature.  The now-familiar orange and black coloring was added in 1922 as part of a packaging redesign for parts and accessories.  While the shape has varied somewhat over the years, it continues to be easily recognizable.

Harley-Davidson logo

Harley-Davidson receives a trademark for the “Bar & Shield” logo.

MAY 2, 1912

Early in the life of the company, Harley-Davidson recognized the incredible value brought to the world of motorcycling by “men who handle the motorcycle” – our dealers.  To develop relationships with dealers and to connect dealers with each other, The Harley-Davidson Dealer premiered in May 1912. The first issue included in its 16 black-and-white pages articles on the relationships between Harley-Davidson and the dealers, the Big Twin, how to enhance photographic skills for publicity images and improve salesmanship through print advertising. The publication was conceived as a “medium in which you dealers tell your troubles and your joys.” While Harley-Davidson was the clearing house for articles, dealers were seen as the writers and editors of this central news bureau. The message was clear, “It is your paper.”

The first HD Dealer

The first H-D Dealer published.