Bill and Arthur started the world's most famous motorcycle company, Harley-Davidson. Bill was born on December 29, 1880. Arthur was born on February 11, 1881.
Bill and Arthur still had some growing up to do. Bill went to work as a draftsman at an electrical motor shop. Arthur worked at the same shop as a pattern-maker. Their skills complemented each other. In 1901, Bill Harley came up with some plans for a bicycle with an engine. He and Arthur were on their way toward building a better motorcycle!
Luckily, Walter Davidson was not only a talented machinist. He was also an excellent motorcycle rider. Walter raced his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to victory! Winning races helped convince people to buy their motorcycles.
|Harley and the Davidsons|
(US Department of Labor)
Bill and Arthur both stayed with the Harley-Davidson Motor Company up until the time they died. Bill died in 1943, and Arthur in 1950. The brothers had come a long way from the family shed in the backyard. Their company made thousands of motorcycles every year. People all over the world rode Harleys! Bill Harley and the Davidson brothers had built a better motorcycle, and the world had noticed.
Read more about Harley-Davidson in the Badger Biographies book Harley and the Davidsons: Motorcycle Legends, available now from the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.