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William S. Harley (front only)

by: PatentWear

The Story ~ Harley-Davidson’s humble beginnings were in a 1901 Milwaukee shack, when William (Bill) Harley and his childhood friend Arthur (Arty) Davidson together developed a one-cylinder, 7.07 cubic inches (116cc) engine, designed for use in an ordinary bicycle frame with pedals

The Story ~ Harley-Davidson’s humble beginnings were in a 1901 Milwaukee shack, when William (Bill) Harley and his childhood friend Arthur (Arty) Davidson together developed a one-cylinder, 7.07 cubic inches (116cc) engine, designed for use in an ordinary bicycle frame with pedals. The modest neighborhood hills soon proved to be too much for their power-cycle’s small engine—without aid from the pedals—and their initial idea was virtually abandoned.

Harley had been an apprentice at a local bicycle factory as a cycle fitter in the design and construction of frames, a valuable background for a young boy of 15. In 1903, with assistance from outboard motor pioneer and neighbor Ole Evinrude, Harley went on to design a bigger engine of 24.74 cubic inches (405cc) displacement.

With an advanced loop frame pattern and the new engine, the first “real” Harley-Davidson was born. Splitting his time between school and work, Harley was able to obtain a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1907, while also producing 150 motorcycles that year.

The first 45-degree V–Twin was introduced with a displacement of 53.68 inches (880cc), in 1907. An improved V-Twin was introduced in 1911—smaller, with better performance. Subsequently, the majority of the bikes produced would be V-Twin models, and in 1914 alone, over 16,000 machines were produced. With the advent of World War I and demands from the military for motorcycles to support the war effort, Harley-Davidson had become the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. By 1920, over 28,000 machines had been sold worldwide.

With the introduction of the 1925 JD motorcycle, Harley-Davidson unveiled a huskier, more muscled and masculine look. With its more powerful 74-cubic inch (1200cc) V-Twin engine, wider but smaller tires, distinctive teardrop-shaped gas tank with shift lever placed alongside it, and large contoured saddle seat dropped three inches lower on the new J-series frame, the JD was a huge success. Sidecars were a popular option, and the only real complaint was the limited choice of just one color—Olive Drab—the signature Harley color of the era. The 1925 model truly was a stepping stone toward building today’s classic Harley look.

The introduction of the 1936 Model EL—“61 OHV” (commonly known today as the Knucklehead)—is considered Bill Harley’s greatest achievement of a highly-successful career. The key elements of the original Knucklehead design were carried over to all the air-cooled Big Twin Harleys produced since that time—certainly William S. Harley’s greatest legacy.

After Harley received his first patent for a Motor Cycle Stand in 1910, his motorcycle improvements and inventions seemed endless, with nearly a patent a year either filed or granted. PatentWear’s William S. Harley design captures two of his significant patents: the V-Twin Engine, and the now-classic 1925 JD Motorcycle.

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100% ring-spun combed cotton, 30 singles, 4.3 ounce jersey. Set-in collar of 1×1 baby rib knit. Fabric laundered for reduced shrinkage. Tear away label. Heather colors are 50% ring-spun combed cotton/50% polyester, and Heather Gray is 90% ring-spun combed cotton/10% polyester. The softest most comfortable cotton shirt on the market great for high end clothing brands. Fit type: Classic. Primary brands used: District. NOTE: Classic fit is cut slightly smaller than a Basic Unisex Cotton Tee.

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Width 19" 20" 21.5" 23.5" 25.5" 27.5" 29.5"
Height 28" 29" 30" 31" 32" 32.5" 33"


Measured across the chest one inch below armhole when laid flat.


Measured from high point shoulder to finished hem at back.