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Thread: Unpublished early HD history documents

  1. #1
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    Default Unpublished early HD history documents

    I thought I would post some articles I found while researching Perry Mack. I have come across these articles over the last 28 years. I don't think I have ever seen them anyplace else. I may be wrong. Hopefully they can be used in our club library.

    The first article is from "The North Shore Bulletin", Chicago, Il., Dec. 1920, Vol. 4, No. 2. In this version of the Harley-Davidson history the article states "the boys built their first machine in 1904".

    This article was published one year after S. Lacy Crolius left Harley-Davidson. He first worked at Harley-Davidson in 1907. He was involved in different jobs until 1910 when he was made Advertising Manager, a position he held until he left Harley-Davidson in 1919. I have written about this before but in 1910 he and his mother and another former Harley-Davidson employee incorporated the Waverley Mfg. Co. in Milwaukee while he was Advertising Manager for Harley-Davidson. This company made Perry Mack's Waverley motorcycle motor which was a significant advance in motorcycle engine design as it was an overhead-valve motor which won it's first time out in public at a race in Milwaukee in the fall of 1910. There was an article in a late 1910 "Wisconsin Motorist" magazine that states Crolius is to give up his position with the Waverley Mfg. Co. as to devote all his efforts towards Harley-Davidson. In early 1911 Crlouis was still listed with Waverley in the Waverley Corporation paperwork but shortly thereafter Perry E. Mack is now listed as President in the corporation paperwork and Crolius is gone.

    I mention S. Lacy Crolius because I feel he and Walter Davidson were most responsible for the confusion that has resulted from the different early histories of Harley-Davidson. In future postings you will see the HD ads or articles that say HD first built motorcycles in 1901, 1902, 1903 and 1904.

    Dick Werner
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  2. #2
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    Great reading, keep it coming. Thanks for sharing your efforts of research, we are all benefited from it to say the least.
    Bob Rice #6738
    He that conquereth his own soul is greater than he who taketh a city.

  3. #3
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    The first article is from 12-11-1913. Harley-Davidson made Atlanta its southern distribution center which will cover 7 states.

    The next ad is from the Atlanta Constitution newspaper of 3-29-1914. At the bottom of the ad HD claims to have made motorcycles "for More Than Twelve Years". 1914 - 12 = 1902. More than twelve would make it 1901.

    The last ad is from the Iowa Homestead newspaper from Des Moines, Ia. on 08-17-1911. Again HD claims to have made motorcycles in 1901. And some are still running.
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    Last edited by pem; 09-15-2018 at 04:39 AM.

  4. #4
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    "Both the South and Main Harley-Davidson factories"??? South of what?
    Be sure to visit;
    http://www.vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/main.php
    Be sure to register at the site so you can see large images.
    Also be sure to visit http://www.caimag.com/forum/

  5. #5
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    "South of what?"

    The Mason Dixon line, y'all.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  6. #6
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    5-10-1914 verson of HD history in the Anaconda Standard newspaper from Anaconda, Mt.
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  7. #7
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    3-29-1914 version of HD early history from the Atlanta "Constitution" newspaper. First reference of the 1903 shed as a "Coal House".
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  8. #8
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    What I find interesting is in the Montana article it is a German who inspired Bill Harley and in the Atlanta article is is a Frenchman who "planted the seed".

  9. #9

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    The "Atlanta" newspaper clipping seems a fantasy piece, the author must have been an ad man dreaming at his desk.

    The "Montana" clipping goes along with today's mostly accepted theories. I do find it interesting though this article claims the "improved" engine was ready in 1902.

    Good stuff here Dick, thanks for posting!
    Last edited by badger34; 09-16-2018 at 12:00 PM.

  10. #10
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    First public record of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle that I could find. Nothing ever was found from 1903 in the public domain. The only reason I found these articles was because Herb Wagner had already done the initial research and found a similar article from another Milwaukee newspaper. In his article they mentioned one HD motorcycle and in the articles I found they mention two HD motorcycles. In one of the articles they list the finishers and no HD motorcycles finished the races. This leads me to believe these were prototypes or experimental versions and not the 1905 production versions which won on 6-2-1905 in their first production appearance. Pretty darn impressive. There were at least 4 HD motorcycles at this race meet at the Wisconsin State Fair one mile dirt horse track in West Allis, Wi.

    The 9-9-1904 article is a list of entrants.
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