Harley-Davidson Logo. Bar And Shield Forever.

No, 1901 is not the year the first Harley-Davidson logo was created. It’s in 1904 that Arthur Davidson’s Aunt Jane Davidson painted “Harley Davidson Motor Company” with a red stripe on the door of the shed where he worked with William S. Harley, but it’s only in 1910 that the famous Bar and shield logo in orange and black was registered with the patent office. It seems that nobody knows who designed it, why a bar & shield, and what was the inspiration for the choice of colors.

The logo didn’t change much (some motorcycle emblems were created) until 1933, year the Eagle was introduced as a patriotic symbol to stimulate sales after the great depression. This Eagle was treated in the Art Deco style of the times.

In 1954, to celebrate its half a century anniversary, a V logo was created and appeared on all this year’s models. In 1960, Harley-Davidson bought 50% of Aeronatica-Macchi, forming Aermacchi Harley-Davidson, a European division whose vocation was to produce small displacement, single cylinder motorcycles. As you know, the company still uses the bar & shield logo although with some minor geometric modifications. Its popularity with the public at large is due to the fact that Harley-Davidson licenses its logo for many (too many, say some) products, from coffee to bed sheets to pool tables. It is estimated that Harley-Davidson receives every year from different brand a total of about $50 million in royalties for the right to use its logo.

11 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Logo. Bar And Shield Forever.”

  1. 1 jim Aug 31st, 2010 at 7:19 am

    …just wonder’n…anyone know exactly what or how much of the “bar& shield” is patented…

  2. 2 Jeremy Aug 31st, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Jim. Cyril wrote at the beginning of the article ” it’s only in 1910 that the famous Bar and shield logo in orange and black was registered with the patent office”

  3. 3 cwglide Aug 31st, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Thanks Cyril, very interesting article the origin of the HD logo. They made a good business in protecting thier brand and logo thanks to their legal dept on the payroll.

  4. 4 jatinder pal Aug 31st, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Love the vintage logos…..

  5. 5 Gary Bang Aug 31st, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    The Bar and Shield; With the words Motor Harley-Davidson Cycles inside of the Bar and Shield is a Trade Mark when applied to the Motorcycle, Parts and other products. The Schield by it self is also a Trade Mark when appled to certin items.

    Years ago Harley-Davidson neglected to Trade Mark the Bar and Schield on their parts and many other items. At the time they may have thought that they wanted to go with the Big #1 now they have both items Trade Marked for ever.

    The shape is now like the Chevrolet Bow-Tie Logo. My understanding that you may not put anything inside the shape, the Bow-Tie or the Shield. GB

  6. 6 Doc Robinson Aug 31st, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Interesting that: “in 1954, to celebrate its half a century anniversary”. Why not 1953? That’s the year the Motor Company claim to have begun (100th Anniversary celebrated in 2003). Worth reading for any Harley-Davidson enthusiast is the book “At The Creation” by Herbert Wagner which dispells a lot of the myths surrounding the beginning of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Some of it will surprise most readers given that Harley-Davidson themselves have long presented some of the myths as history. All harmless but nevertheless misleading to some extent. But then, history is always written by the victors.

  7. 7 X harley rider Aug 31st, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    So the logo is a 100 years old its are’s now isn’t it??????????

  8. 8 Waitaminute... Aug 31st, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    “So the logo is a 100 years old its are’s now isn’t it??????????”


  9. 9 Kirk Perry Aug 31st, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Jane Davidson was said to have designed the oak leaf logo. I believe they were placed on early tool boxes or the seat post tube.

    Stett has an Oak Leaf, water-based, inside-decal on his truck window.
    Only 1-1/2″ high. Old stock and obsolete.

  10. 10 just my opinion Sep 1st, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    X harley ride; I believe what you are trying to say is that because of the age their logo and trade mark should be free for anyone to use. If that is what you are thinking you would be incorrect.
    Patents have a life of twenty years from the filing date but Trademarks can be held indefinately so long as the holder of that trademark pays their registration fee’s and can show that they are still using that Trademark. The short answer is Trademarks have No expiration date unlike patents. And Harley has been known to defend their trademark rights fiercely as they should.

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