Fact File: Who invented Jeans? Invention: Jeans *** Date of Invention: 1873 *** Name of Inventors: Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss *** Nationality of Inventors: American *** Historical Period: Second US Industrial Revolution /
California Gold Rush *** Category: Clothing and Apparel *** Country of Origin: America *** The Inventors and Invention of
Fact 1: Who invented Jeans? The Jeans was invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873 during the Second US Industrial Revolution era of inventions (1850 - 1914).
Fact 2: Who invented Jeans? Prior to the invention of
Jeans in 1873, George Houghton and L. K. Washburn had both received patents in
the late 1860's for using rivets for securing seams in shoes. But it was Jacob
Davis that had the idea of using rivets, a short metal pin for fastening two or
more pieces together, in the manufacture of clothes.
Fact 3: Who invented Jeans? The history of denim jeans began when Jacob Davis
applied copper rivets to stress points on work pants. His pants were so popular
that he could not keep up with demand and he approached Levi Strauss to provide
financial backing for the novel idea in order to pay $68 for a US patent to
protect the idea and to manufacture the product.
Fact 4: Who invented Jeans? Jacob Davis was born Jacob Youphes in the
city of Riga, part of the Russian Empire, now called Latvia, in 1831. Jacob Davis
came from a family of Jewish tailors and his early years were spent learning to
be a tailor.
Fact 5: Who invented Jeans? Levi Strauss was born Lob Straus in
Buttenheim, Germany, on February 26, 1829. His parents were to Hirsch Strauss
and his second wife, Rebecca Haas Strauss. The Strauss family decided to
emigrate to America and started a wholesale dry goods business called J. Strauss
Brother & Co. Levi Strauss emigrated to America in 1846 and joined his brothers
in the family business.
Fact 6: Who invented Jeans? Jacob Davis
also decided to emigrate to America and in 1854 arrived in New York where he
established a small tailoring business. Jacob Davis married Annie Parksher, and
together, Jacob and Annie Davis had six children.
Fact 7: Who invented Jeans? The paths of Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss
were destined to cross due to the California Gold Rush (1848–1855) which started
when James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's timber Mill in California on
January 24, 1848 and gold fever hit San Francisco. Over 90,000 gold-seekers
flock to the Californian goldfields in 1849 and become known as the "Forty-Niners".
Fact 8: Who invented Jeans? San Francisco became a boom town and in 1853
Levi Strauss moved to San Francisco and opened his own dry goods wholesale
business as Levi Strauss & Co., which also served as the West Coast
representative of the family’s New York business.
Fact 9: Who invented Jeans? Jacob Davis and his family moved to San
Francisco in 1867 where Jacob Davis worked in his small tailoring business and
became a customer of Levi Strauss & Co. who supplied him with the cloth and
fabrics he needed to run his tailoring business.
Fact 10: Who invented Jeans? Jacob Davis sewed items of clothing and
also other functional items such as tents, wagon covers and horse blankets.
Fact 11: Who invented Jeans? Levi Strauss & Co. supplied the hard-wearing
cloth, such as canvas and denim, to Jacob Davis.
Fact 12: Who invented Jeans? Canvas is a waterproof material with a tight
weave which makes the material somewhat stiff. Denim is not as durable as canvas
and does not retain dyes as well, but resists tears and creases easily. Jacob Davis
used canvas to make tents and wagon covers. Denim, unlike canvas, softens with
wear and makes more comfortable clothes so Jacob Davis chose this material to
make clothes for labourers.
Fact 13: Who invented Jeans? Business for Levi Strauss & Co. was
flourishing but Jacob Davis found that his business was floundering. The
California gold rush had eased by 1855 as the gold output stabilized and Jacob Davis
missed his chance to capitalize on the California Gold Rush.
Fact 14: Who invented Jeans? In 1865 silver was discovered in Nevada and
other workers flocked to the area with the construction of the Transcontinental
Railroad (1863 - 1869). Jacob Davis made the decision to move to Nevada where
he eventually opened a tailors shop in Reno.
Fact 15: Who invented Jeans? The invention of Jeans by Jacob Davis came
about by accident. His customers were all laborers who had little money to spend
on clothes. Tools, spikes, nails, rocks and pieces of rock often found their way
into the trouser pockets of the men. Not surprisingly the pockets of trousers
easily tore and hard manual labor resulted in ripped seams.
Fact 16: Who invented Jeans? The wife of a lumberjack asked Jacob Davis
if he could make a pair of really strong, durable working pants for her husband.
His 'Eureka' moment for making reinforced jeans came when he was about to finish
making the denim jeans. He had used copper rivets as fasteners to reinforce hose
blanket straps he made for local teamsters and some of the rivets had been left
were lying on the table. Jacob Davis used the rivets to fasten the pockets of
Fact 17: Who invented Jeans? The customer was delighted with the
reinforced jeans. Word spread and before long Jacob Davis was unable to keep up
with the demand for his reinforced denim jeans. He needed financial support and
turned to his supplier, Levi Strauss, for help.
Fact 18: Who invented Jeans? Levi Strauss recognized the need for heavy
work clothing and its potential for profit and the two men applied for a patent
to protect the idea.
Fact 19: Who invented Jeans? They filed for a patent for using 'copper
rivet fasteners for denim trousers'. The patent application was jointly assigned
to Jacob Davis and to Levi Strauss & Company and was granted, U.S. Patent No.
139,121, on May 20, 1873.
Fact 20: Who invented Jeans? A new specification forming part of Letters
Patent No. 139,121, was reissued on March 16,1875 in which Jacob Davis stated
"My invention is applicable to pantaloons, overalls, coats, vests, and other
Fact 21: Who invented Jeans? The first Jeans were a muddy brown color but
as Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss worked to improve their jeans they found that
an indigo blue color was more popular.
Fact 22: Who invented Jeans? The invention of denim blue Jeans was a
great success. Jacob Davis moved back to San Francisco to run the large tailor
shop that had been established by Levi Strauss. The shop was enable to meet
demand and a mass production factory was opened which was also managed by Jacob Davis.
Fact 23: Who invented Jeans? The invention of Jeans resulted in both Jacob Davis
and Levi Strauss becoming extremely wealthy men. Jacob Davis sold his interest
in the patent and the manufacturing to Levi Strauss.
Fact 24: Who invented Jeans? Both men remained in San Francisco
until the end of their lives. Levi Strauss died on September 26, 1902 and Jacob Davis
died in 1908.
Fact 25: Who invented Jeans? Denim Jeans were only worn by manual workers
for many years but in the 1950's, with the influence of the movies, became a
fashion staple and the 1960's saw jeans becoming the fashion province of the
younger generation with style innovations such as pre-shrunk jeans and flared
jeans. Stone washed skinny jeans emerged as the new fashion trend of the 1970's.
Fact 26: Who invented Jeans? Later fashions involving jeans saw the
rebellious style of distressed, "acid wash" denim jeans and the 'ripped jeans'
look and grunge fashion. Designer jeans by notable fashion designers produce
expensive jeans such as Armani, D&G jeans, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli Jeans, Escada,
APO Jeans and Diesel.
Fact 27: Who invented Jeans? Whatever the latest fashion in style and
design might be denim jeans invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss are here