Did you know that your jeans are 140 years old? Well, not YOUR jeans per se, but May 20th marks the 140th anniversary of the birth of one of these world-famous garments! In San Francisco in 1873, Levi Strauss had a thriving business selling work clothes and other dry goods during the gold rush days. One of his regular customers, Jacob Davis, contacted Strauss about reinforcing his work pants with copper rivets at the stress points, just as Davis had successfully done with horse blankets. Davis and Strauss applied for and received Patent #139,121 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for "Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings,” an innovation that led to the design of the jeans we wear today. Known as waist overalls back then (they weren’t called jeans until much later), denim pants were tremendously popular with miners, farmers, railway workers, cowboys and other laborers; by the 1920s, they were the top-selling men's work pants in the US. A whole new market opened up when gals began wearing them as fashion in the mid-30s. Here is a detailed timeline for those of you who want to know how it all unfolded:
Fourteen decades later, there is hardly a person in the world who doesn’t own at least one pair! Colors and styles have changed with the times. We’ve worn them beaded, embroidered, sequinned, studded, painted, bleached, distressed, torn, cut-off, bell-bottomed, flared, skinny, baggy, high-waisted, hip-hugging, and more, but the classic original 501 button-fly design is still around. Now, go put on your favorite jeans and celebrate!