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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

American Icon: Harley-Davidson, Harley, the HOG

Over 100 years old and still rolled out on American soil!
William S. Harley was 21 years old when he drew up plans for a small engine designed for use in a regular pedal-bicycle frame. That was in 1901 and what was to evolve is history indeed.

For two years, Harley with assistance of Arthur Davidson, his childhood friend, worked on the motor-bicycle. A mutual friend, Henry Melk, offered the use of the northside Milwaukee machine shop located at his home.

In 1903, it was finally finished. Arthur's brother, Walter Davidson, was also called upon to assist with the project.

Upon testing their power-cycle, Harley and the Davidson brothers found it unable to climb the hills around Milwaukee without pedal assistance. They quickly wrote off their first motor-bicycle as a valuable learning experiment. [Source: en.wikipedia.org]

What could have been chalked up as a failure turned out to be just the beginning...

Founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Harley-Davidson survived the Great Depression, a period of poor quality control and competition from Japanese manufacturers. It has become the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer. Harley-Davidson is deeply rooted in America remaining in the 21st century as an American classic recognized and revered around the world. Every new Harley's first rumbles are right here on American soil amid the good ol' Red, White and Blue. It is the top of the totem pole, the cream of the crop, the icing on the cake, roaring among all steel ponies with its own unique sound.

A Bit of Trivia: Why Harleys are called "HOGS"...

Beginning in 1920 a team of farm boys down South that would become known as the "hog boys" consistently won races. The group had a hog, or pig as their mascot. Following a win, they would put the pig (a real one) on the back of their Harley and take a victory lap. In 1983, an organization was formed, taking advantage of the long-standing nickname by turning "hog" into the acronym H.O.G., for Harley Owners Group. Many Harley-Davidson enthusiasts capitalize the word to make "Hog" and consider this term the sole property of H-D.
Harley-Davidson attempted to trademark "hog," but in 1999 ultimately lost the case, with the appellate panel ruling that "hog" had become a generic term for large motorcycles, and is therefore unprotectable as a trademark.
On August 15, 2006, Harley Davidson Inc. had its NYSE ticker symbol changed from HDI to HOG. [Source: en.wikipedia.org]
Embrace the Past...

Harley-Davidson 1905 Model
Harley-Davidson 1907 Model

Harley-Davidson 1,000 cc HT 1916
Ralph Hepburn on his Harley racing bike in this 1919 photo
Harley-Davidson 1000 cc HT 1923
Harley-Davidson 1,200 cc SV 1931
Harley-Davidson WL Military Model during and around WWII

  Get the rest of THE STORY...

Point of Interest: Although many parts are made in other countries, all Harley-Davidson bikes are assembled in the U.S. plants. 
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