To uncover the history of the Harley Davidson logo you need to know a bit about the company.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1901 at the age of 21, William S. Harley drew his first blueprint of an engine he wanted to put on a bicycle. William did not start working With his partner Arthur Davidson until two years later.
When William Harley and Arthur Davidson made the first Harley Davidson motorcycle it was the year 1904. This motorcycle was built in a 10 x 15 foot shed with the words Harley Davidson Motor Company hand written on the door.
It was 1904 when Arthur Davidson’s Aunt Jane Davidson painted “Harley Davidson Motor Company” on the door with a red stripe.
The famous Bar and shield logo in orange and black was registered with the patent office in the year 1910. There is no record of who designed it or why the bar and shield.
Before the next logo was made a few interesting things happened. During World War 1 almost 20,000 Harley motorcycles were used by the United States army. In 1920, a man named Leslie Parkhurst broke the speed record 23 times. After every win, the team would take a victory lap with their mascot. The mascot was a pig, which is where the name “hog” came from and the first Hog association was formed.
The art deco “eagle” design became the next Harley logo. It was painted on every Harley in 1933 to try and stimulate sales after the depression.
It was after 1930 when motorcycle riders were being thought of as outlaws, and using the skull and crossbones as their emblem. The company needed to change this image. Willie G. Davidson came up with the “skull and wings” logo.
For Harley’s 50th anniversary a V logo was made. This logo was put on the fender of every 1954 model bike.
Today dealers around the country are allowed to add to the logo with Harleys’ permission. As an example in Colorado dealers add mountains behind the original Harley logo.
You can find just about any item with the logo on it today. From sunglasses and cups to Harley bedding, the logo is everywhere.
The Harley Davidson logo is now a $41 million dollar industry.