hdfounders

Arthur Davidson, son of motorcycle company co-founder, dead at 97

Arthur Harley Davidson, son of Harley-Davidson Inc. co-founder Arthur Davidson, died Saturday night at age 97.

Davidson was not closely involved with the motorcycle company but had his own firm, Wenthe-Davidson Engineering Co., that’s been in business for 70 years.

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Brief History –

Arthur Davidson (1881–1950) was one of the four original founders of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. One of Arthur’s favorite pastimes was fishing in the beautiful Wisconsinwilderness, which inspired him to create a motorcycle that would “take the hard work out of pedaling a bicycle”.

Arthur was a natural story teller, salesman and United States patriot. During World War I and II, Arthur and company diverted motorcycle production to support U.S. troops. This noble act was rewarded with returning troops ready, trained and willing to buy Harley-Davidson branded motorcycles.

The “Honey Uncle” story is one of the most memorable family stories about Arthur and a pivotal moment for the fate of Harley-Davidson company. One day shortly after Arthur’s cleaning lady visited he discovered the seed money he had stashed between his mattress to start Harley-Davidson was missing! Fortunately, Arthur was able to borrow the $500 in venture capital needed for Harley-Davidson from an uncle who owned a bee farm in Madison, Wisconsin. From then on, the uncle was known as the “Honey Uncle” for helping the business get off the ground. The bee farm on Lake Mendota was later sold to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and is now known as Picnic Point in the Lakeshore Nature Preserve.

Arthur was credited with the slogan that inspired he and his 21 year old friend Harley as they worked tirelessly in a 10 x 15 foot shed. The slogan was to “Take The Work Out Of Bicycling.”

Arthur was survived by his three children, Margaret, Arthur and James Davidson.

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