This Friday marks an important anniversary for one of the world’s most loved and versatile pieces of clothing.
On May 20, 1873 Levi Strauss, a German emigrant, and Jacob Davis, a Nevada tailor, were granted a patent which created the Levi Strauss & Company and birthed arguably the most popular fashion item ever created: the blue jean.
Strauss had arrived in New York in 1846 but when news of the California Gold Rush made its way east, Levi journeyed to San Francisco in 1853 to make his fortune, though he wouldn’t make it panning gold. He established a wholesale dry goods business under his own name and served as the West Coast representative of the family’s New York firm. Levi eventually renamed his company “Levi Strauss & Co.”
Around 1872, Levi received a letter from one of his customers, Jacob Davis, a Reno, Nevada tailor. In his letter, Davis disclosed the unique way he made pants for his customers, through the use of rivets at points of strain to make them last longer. Davis wanted to patent this new idea, but needed a business partner to get the idea off the ground. Levi was enthusiastic about the idea.
Born as a work jean, the jean has progressed through workmen, cowboys and handymen through to a highly sought out fashion piece in everyone’s wardrobe.
The date marks the day that the copper rivet was invented and the patent granted, which is what gave the world denim jeans as we know them today.
The copper rivet was implemented onto the jeans by Levi Strauss to ensure the stress points on the pants were were reinforced and durable for the working man.
Since then blue jeans are a staple in most people’s wardrobe, loved by everyone from rock stars to protestors, bike couriers to high-powered businessman.