Early Harley Davidson Advertising
Early Harley Davidson advertising was seen in print not long after William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson started their motorcycle business around 1902. It was only a year later that Harley Davidson had its first dealership but print advertising in the newspaper didn’t show up prominently until around 1909. We will take a look at some of the advertisements that appeared in those early days.
Play a period tune below –
Los Angeles Herald in 1909 – (This article shows that Harleys sold out before they even reached the dealership back in 1909)
New Harley-Davidson for 1909 – Lee Richardson hopes to have the new 1909 Harley-Davidson line here by the first of the year and promises to have a motorcycle at that time that in point of power ought to satisfy the worst spied maniacs alive and out of a sanitarium.
A new twin is coming that will have sixty-one cubic inches piston displacement. This is the limit allowed in racing under the F. A. M. rules. While it is rated at six horsepower it ought to develop somewhat in excess of that when figured like many other makes are estimated.
The single cylinders will have a displacement of 30.5, being just within the limit again. Richardson already has deposits on a large number of orders that will consume nearly the entire number of ma chines ordered and shipped. He had four of the twin cylinder machines sold before the factory had built one. The sales were made on the reputation of former models of the Harley-Davidson and advance circular of the proposal machine, which the factory has been perfecting for over two years.
The San Francisco Call 1911 – Harley Davidson Fast Motorcycle – Joe Holle Tells of Many Fine Points of the Popular Machine.
“Probably no American motorcycle is more favorably known than the Harley-Davidson, the product of the Harley-Davidson motor company, Milwaukee, Wis. Once upon a time the slogan was: “The beer that made Milwaukee famous”. Now it runs: “The Harley- Davidson motorcycle keeps Milwaukee famous”. The praise is well deserved, for no machine has made a more consistent record than has the Harley- Davidson,” says Joe Holle the local agent.
This company began operations in 1902 in a little machine shop, having 120 feet square feet of floor space. One man built one machine that year. Last year the company turned out 3,700 single cylinder machines from a factory containing 128,000 square feet of floor space and employing 340 persons. Since the last show the Harley-Davidson motor company, has doubled its capacity and will make 7,000 motor cycles this year. Square dealing with employe and dealer and rider has made this tremendous growth possible.
The Motorcycle on the Farm – This article appeared in The Ranch in Seattle Washington in 1911. It is undoubtedly a write up to lead to an ad placed right next to the article for the Harley Davidson and why farmers are buying them.
If one is to believe the statements of the leading motorcycle manufacturers of the day and their statements seem logical, it is cheaper to make a trip to town on a motorcycle than to drive or walk. A manufacture of one of these motorcycles (his particular make holds the world’s record for economy) states that while the machine that made the world’s record traveling fifty miles at a cost of less than one-tenth cent per mile over country road 9 was operated by an expert, it is nothing unusual for this particular make of motorcycle in the bands of an amateur to travel from six to eight miles on one cent’s worth of gasoline.
In comparison with the private riding horse the expense per mile is naturally much less and if one figures that while the driving horse must be fed daily, the motorcycle only consumes while in use, the difference is still greater. The limit of a horse for continuous daily driving is probably thirty miles, while that of a motorcycle is over two hundred. Good traveling for a road horse means ten miles an hour; good traveling for a motorcycle from thirty to fifty miles per hour.
In this age of scarce hired help, time, at some season is extremely valuable to the farmer. His ability to cover the distance to town and back with a motorcycle in one fifth of the road driving horse time and with no time wasted harnessing and unharnessing, is a factor to be considered.
Most all the good motorcycles are now equipped with tandem attachments and luggage carriers, if desired. By means of this tandem attachment two can ride as well as one. The luggage carrier permits the carrying of small freight, not exceeding 200 pounds.
Many a farmer, as well as his children, have rebelled at their inability to go to town, to the swimming hole or the fishing grounds in the late summer evening, for a horse cannot be worked all day and be driven on the road at night. To these the motorcycle fills a long felt want. It is ever ready, costs nothing when idle and will last for years.
It is really more expensive to be without a motorcycle than to own one, just as it is more expensive to plow with a hand plow, cradle the grain and use the flail instead of the modern appliances. The best makes of motorcycle today can be had for from $225 up. A motorcycle like many other pieces of machinery, can be built too cheaply to be good. There are, however, several well established makes, which have years of successful manufacture behind them and one will not go amiss in choosing any of these.
The motorcycle of today has come to stay. Already in the cities it is being adopted extensively by business firms because of the great time saving its use assures.
Repair men, inspection men, etc, can accomplish triple the work possible with their former horse and carriage. The saving of time as well as the great pleasure to be derived from its use has given the motorcycle a lasting place in the home of the American farmer.