William S. Harley worked at the Meiselbach Bicycle Factory in North Milwaukee from 1896 onwards. From 1901 to 1903 Harley and Arthur Davidson worked at Pawling & Harnischfeger in Milwaukee, Harley as a technical draftsman, Arthur Davidson as a model builder; The company produced electric motors.
The performance of the actress Anna Held is described as a powerful experience for Harley and Davidson.
In 1901, he drove with a De-Dion-Bouton motorcycle through the streets of Milwaukee. First design drawings of a separate 116 cm³ engine are known by William Harley from this time. From 1901 to 1903, Harley and Davidson used the premises of Henry Melk, who had a store of iron goods.
Help came from Ole Evinrude – these business connections existed until 1904. Emil Krüger (Emil Krueger), an immigrant German who had worked in France at De Dion-Bouton, should also have provided construction drawings of the De Dion-Bouton engine.
Harley-Davidson Model 1 (1905)
In 1903, Harley and Davidson moved into their own workshop, a small shed behind the Davidson family house in Milwaukee. Later the brothers William and Walter Davidson joined the two. The prototype of 1903 as well as the two pre-production models of 1904 are not preserved.
A received sketch of a Harley-Davidson is dated April 1, 1905, the first action-shot photo of a Harley-Davidson dating from the end of April 1905, showing the model 1.