Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Notable engineer countdown - at #9, William S. Harley – created Harley-Davidson's first V-twin

William S. Harley, 1880-1943
Bill Harley drew up a single-cylinder motor suitable for powering a bicycle in 1901, at the age of 21. Two years later he partnered with Arthur Davidson to produce a racing motorcycle; that first Harley-Davidson was born in a 150-square foot shed. Harley graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1907. By that time, two more Davidson brothers had joined the partnership and the company was firmly established. Harley designed and prototyped the first H-D V-twin motor that year, too. Whether you love or hate what that design led to, there's no denying the fact that William S. Harley is the single individual who ended up having the largest influence on the shape of the American motorcycle. To learn more about him start here.

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