May 20, 1873: Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis acquire blue jeans patent
Can you imagine a world without blue jeans? That’s the question Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were faced with when they achieved their blue jeans patent on May 20, 1873. 146 years ago, blue jeans hadn’t been invented yet and everyone was sporting overalls at the time. Read on to find out how Levi Strauss And Jacob Davis made history by introducing blue jeans to the world.
Based in San Francisco, Levi Strauss was a successful entrepreneur who ran his own wholesale business and worked for his family’s company as a representative on the West Coast. His latest venture included importing clothes, fabric, and dry goods to stores throughout California to support the influx of gold panners and frontiersmen. Hailing from Reno, Nevada, Jacob Davis was a professional tailor and a huge client of Strauss’. By 1872, Davis had the genius idea to consult with Strauss about a new way to make work pants: by adding metallic rivets to the jeans’ stress points. Since Davis didn’t have the money, he propositioned that Strauss cover the funding in order to help them gain a blue jeans patent. Strauss agreed, and the invention of blue jeans was born.
On May 20, 1873, the two businessmen were granted the patent for the “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings.” Originally called “waist overalls,” Strauss organized a factory in San Francisco that would produce the world’s first jeans and hired Davis to manage their production. Although they originally recruited homemakers to do their stitching at home, the business expanded and Strauss opened his first production facility in the 1880s. His 501 jeans became a hit among denim fanatics everywhere.
Forever in blue jeans
Since their creation, Levi’s jeans have been a bestseller among the working class and upper class alike. Stars that have rocked Strauss and Davis’ creation include Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Springsteen, and Barack Obama. The rest is history! Like it or not, blue jeans are here to stay and we have Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis to thank for it.