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A history of Harley-Davidson

/ Source: The Associated Press

Harley-Davidson is opening a museum that takes a look at the company's history and culture — from Knuckleheads to Sportsters to Fat Boys.

Some Harley highlights in history:

1903: William S. Harley, 23, and Arthur Davidson, 22, offer the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The pair built it in a 10-by-15-foot wooden shed with the words "Harley-Davidson Motor Company" scrawled on the door.

1904: The first Harley-Davidson dealer opens in Chicago.

1906: The first Harley factory is built in Milwaukee.

1907: Harley-Davidson Motor Co. is incorporated.

1909: The company introduces its first V-Twin powered motorcycle, built with two cylinders in a 45-degree angle.

1913: The company enters motorcycle racing.

1915: Harley offers motorcycles with three-speed transmissions.

1918: Harley helps out the World War I effort with 20,000 motorcycles. The first American to enter Germany after the Armistice is signed is Cpl. Roy Holtz of Chippewa Falls, Wis., who rides a Harley across the border.

1925: The motorcycles now have gas tanks with a distinct teardrop shape. The basic appearance of Harleys will remain virtually the same through the present.

1936: Harley introduces the EL, which earns the nickname "Knucklehead" because of the shape of its rocker boxes, which cover the valves that control the fuel and the exhaust.

1942-45: Harley makes almost 90,000 motorcycles for the military during World War II.

1949: Hydraulic front forks first appear on the new Hydra-Glide models.

1952: The K model is introduced, eventually evolving into the Sportster.

1957: The Sportster debuts, the first of the "Superbikes."

1962: The company establishes the Tomahawk Division.

1964: The three-wheeled Servi-car becomes the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle with an electric starter.

1969: Harley-Davidson merges with the American Machine and Foundry Co.

1971: Harley introduces the FX 1200 Super Glide, which starts a new class of motorcycle, the cruiser.

1973: Harley moves its motorcycle assembly operation to York, Pa.

1981: Harley executives buy back company from American Machine and Foundry Co.

1983: Harley Owners Group, called HOG, is founded.

1986: Company returns to public ownership.

1990: Harley introduces the FLSTF Fat Boy.

1993: Harley-Davidson buys a minority interest in Buell Motorcycle Co. of East Troy, Wis.

1995: The 30th Anniversary Ultra Classic Electra Glide becomes the first production Harley with fuel injection.

1998: A new assembly facility opens in Manaus, Brazil, the first operations outside the U.S. Harley-Davidson buys a remaining 49 percent interest in Buell Motorcycle Co.

2001: The V-Rod is introduced for the 2002 model year, the company's first motorcycle to combine fuel injection, overhead cams and liquid cooling. Harley-Davidson announces expansions at plants in Milwaukee, Tomahawk, Wis., and York, Pa.

2003: More than 250,000 celebrate Harley-Davidson's 100th anniversary in Milwaukee.

2005: Jim Ziemer takes over as CEO from retiring Jeff Bleustein

2006: The first of the 6-speed transmissions are available on 2006 model year Dyna motorcycles. Harley introduces the new Twin Cam 96 to improve the trademark sound. Harley-Davidson appoints Beijing Feng Huo Lun as the first authorized Harley-Davidson dealer on mainland China.

2008: The new Harley museum opens July 12 before its 105th celebration from Aug. 28-31.

Source: Harley-Davidson Inc. Web site