To get to know that story, we have to get back to the year 1901 when two guys added four enginees to simple bicycle. Do you know who these guys were?
Yes, William Sylveste4r Harley and Arthur Davidson. That experiment took place in a small garage behind the Davidson's family house. These two men passion didn't allow them to stop living their dream and limit their operation only to house trials. After some time, they created their first motorcycle - Silent Grey Fellow. They made it with the help of Davidson's two brothers - William and Walter. That was their first motor for sale.
At the beginning they were pretty modest. They made only eight motorcycles in 1904, but two years later, in 1906, the production risen to 50. On 17 September 1907, it was registered to American register of commercial and industrial enterprises. Thanks to the attending in the Mountains Race by Arthur Davidson, in 1908, the enterprise became more known. Walter was the first chairman of the company.
In 1911, an improved V-Twin model was introduced. The new engine had mechanically operated intake valves, as opposed to the "automatic" intake valves used on earlier V-Twins that opened by engine vacuum. With a displacement of 49.48 cubic inches (811 cm³), the 1911 V-Twin was smaller than earlier twins, but gave better performance. After 1913 the majority of bikes produced by Harley-Davidson would be V-Twin models.
In the next years, motorbikes were developing in a technician matte. The time of World War was problematic for many enterprises, but Harley Davidson couldn't say that their situation was bad. We might be pretty sure, that their situation was good also because their motorcycles were used also by army. The stock market crash in New York, caused a significient drop in production, but they didn't give up and were still introducing new technologies.
In the period, when the II World War took place, Harley Davidson's motorcycles were chosen again for the army. After the war, the company had some bigger or sometimes smaller problems. In 1969, Harley Davidson was acquired by AMF, but it didn't caused any changes with the production.
Nowadays, Harley Davidson's situation is pretty stable. They don't produce only motorcycles, but also motor accessories and clothes. The company products are such popular, that in 1983, the Harley Owner Group was created. The group is a sponsored community marketing club, operated by Harley-Davidson for enthusiasts of that brand's motorcycles.
Beginning with Harley-Davidson's 90th anniversary in 1993, Harley-Davidson has had celebratory rides to Milwaukee called the "Ride Home". This new tradition has continued every five years, and is referred to unofficially as "Harleyfest", in line with Milwaukee's other festivals (Summerfest, German fest, Festa Italiana, etc.). This event brings Harley riders from the whole world. The 105th anniversary celebration was held on August 28–31, 2008, and included events in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Kenosha counties, in Southeast Wisconsin. The 110th anniversary celebration was held on August 29–31, 2013. The 115th anniversary was held in Prague, Czech Republic, the home country of the first Harley Davidson Club, on July 5-8, 2018 and attracted more than 100.000 visitors and 60.000 bikes
Now, when you know the company, can you imagine that they started in such a poor condition?