Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Businessman Levi Strauss was born on February 26, 1829, in Bavaria, Germany. He emigrated to the United States at age 18 to help with his brothers’ wholesale dry goods business in New York. In 1853 he settled in San Francisco and founded his own business, Levi Strauss & Co., to profit from the late years of the California Gold Rush. He sold clothing, bedding, combs, handkerchiefs and other fine dry goods shipped from his brothers, and canvas for prospectors’ tents. In 1872, he partnered with a Nevada tailor, Jacob Davis, to make men's “waist overalls” from canvas, and in 1873 they patented the use of copper rivets to strengthen the pants’ stress points. They later substituted a more suitable, twilled cotton cloth produced in New Hampshire, now known as denim. In the 1890s Strauss made the first Levi’s 501 jeans, the forerunner of today’s blue jeans. Modern jeans appeared in the 1920s. Pictured: advertising from the 1890s, 1950s.