How blue jeans were invented

It’s the height of the Gold Rush, 1850s California. A young tailor named Jacob Davis notices that his gold-mining customers are wearing through pants faster than they can patch them. In a moment of vision, Davis adds reinforcing metal rivets to his pant design, strategically placing them at points of strain, like the corners of pockets and the base of the fly. The enhanced trousers are soon in high demand. In order to take out a patent on the highly successful riveted pant, Davis needs a business partner. He approaches the supplier of his cloth, a dry goods merchant by the name of Levi Strauss.

Strauss and Davis begin manufacturing pants out of denim, and continue to modify the design to accommodate their customers. It is rumored that the removal of the crotch rivet was due to a complaint from the miners that squatting too near a campfire in their typical underwear-free fashion could be painful. Jeans continued to be modified and diversified over the years, eventually becoming an everyday fashion item for both work and play by the 1960s. Today, 96% of American consumers own at least one, if not many, pairs of jeans.

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