The story of the rise of Harley Davidson is an endless succession of fascinating facts. Who knew that the first mini bike made by Harley was called a Shortster? Or that the Night Train name originated with a 1971 advertisement for the Super Glide? The Bar and Shield was first used in 1908 and granted a U.S. patent in 1910; bet you didn’t know that, either.
William S. Harley and Arthur Davidson made the first production Harley Davidson motorcycle available to the public in 1903. The first Harley Davidson dealership opened its doors in 1904 (Dudley Perkins in San Francisco is the oldest Harley dealership in the world).
1908 was the year that marked the first Harley Davidson being sold for police duty, and that was to the Detroit Police Department. Although bikes from other manufacturers are certainly common among police departments across North America, Harley is probably the most recognizable brand to carry police officers in most jurisdictions.
Sure, every Harley rider knows that Elvis bought his first Harley in 1956. And although most Harley riders could name quite a few dealerships in Ontario (there are 22 Harley Davidson dealerships in Ontario in 2010), and probably most of them have heard the Deeley family name, most riders probably don’t know that Fred Deeley’s Harley dealership on Granville Street in Vancouver was the fourth oldest Harley dealership in the world.
Percy Poole opened the first Ontario Harley Davidson dealership in London, Ontario in 1945. He sold it to Rocky Robb in 1955 and opened Poole’s Harley Davidson in Hamilton, Ontario. Both dealerships continue to be flourishing businesses.
Contrary to popular myth, the Fatboy was not named after the first two atomic bombs used in combat (Fat Man and Little Boy). It was simply named in reference to the fact that it appears wider than usual when viewed from the front.