Lot 20: Harley-Davidson: William S. Harley typed and signed letter
6th December 2017
Racer and engineer (1880–1943) who cofounded the famed motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson. Scarce TLS signed “Wm. S. Harley,” two pages, 8.25 x 10.75, Harley-Davidson Motor Co. letterhead, October 25, 1934. Letter to a Harley-Davidson dealer in Orlando, in part: "We hope the following information and suggestions will clear up the difficulties with your radio machine. You mention the fact that you are troubled with noise when the motorcycle engine is running, but that this disappears when the engine is not running. We do not understand exactly what type of noise you refer to, but the above symptoms would indicate that the noise comes from the ignition system. When one of these radio jobs is properly installed, absolutely no ignition noise should be present…See that the aluminum shields over the spark plugs are securely fastened and that they make good contact with the metal braid on the spark plug cables. You will find a small condenser connected from one of the spark-coil primary terminals to ground. See that the small nut on this condenser is tight and that the short wire leading from it is making good contact—this is important…Examine antenna plate to see that it does not touch any part of the underside of the motor or frame. Make certain the antenna lead-in is securely fastened to the frame with tape and that the two screws connecting it with the antenna plate are tight. A short wave radio is very sensitive and will pick up noise, whether the motor is running or not, from power lines, street cars, electric signs, passing autos, etc. Any police radio will do this, whether it is mounted on a motorcycle or in an automobile. These radio sets as delivered from the factory are properly lined up to the frequency of your local police station. It sometimes happens that, during transportation and the process of fastening the radio to the machine, the trimmer condensers may get out of tune. If this takes place, the set will apparently work allright near the station but it will be difficult to pick up a signal more than two miles or so away from the station. Your comment on the test you made with one of the radio cars leads us to believe that you have the above trouble, since we have never failed to outperform any radio car with our motorcycle set in the numerous tests we have made. We suggest that you have a competent radio man check the alignment of the trimmer condensers as per the instructions received with the set, or better, have one of the radio men at the station do the job." In fine condition. Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson began selling their motorcycles to police departments around 1907, developing a market that remains important to the company to this day.
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