The discovery at Sutter’s Mill set off the historic California Gold Rush of 1848 and changed the face of America. One product of those heady times has become a part of American popular culture: Levi’s jeans. The durable denim pants were brought to market by Levi Strauss, a Jewish merchant living in San Francisco, to meet the needs of uncouth miners in California’s gold fields. Today, Levi’s jeans have evolved into a world-recognized form of haute couture.
Levi Strauss came to San Francisco in 1853, at the age of twenty-four, to open a west coast branch of his brother’ s New York business, selling dry goods, clothing, and household furnishings. He had spent a number of years learning the trade in New York after emigrating there from his native Germany. He built his business into a very successful operation over the next twenty years, making a name for himself not only as a well-respected businessman, but as a local philanthropist as well.
One of Levi’s many customers was a tailor named Jacob Davis. Originally from Latvia, Jacob lived in Reno, Nevada, and regularly purchased bolts of cloth from the wholesale house of Levi Strauss & Co. Among Jacob’s customers was a difficult man who kept ripping the pockets of the pants that Jacob made for him. Jacob tried to think of a way to strengthen the man’s trousers, and one day hit upon the idea of putting metal rivets at the points of strain, such as on the pocket corners and at the base of the button fly.
These riveted pants were an instant hit with Jacob’s customers and he worried that someone might steal this great idea. He decided he should apply for a patent on the process, but didn’t have the $81 that was required to file the papers. He needed a business partner and he immediately thought of Levi Strauss.
In 1872 Jacob wrote a letter to Levi to suggest that the two men hold the patent together. Levi, who was an astute businessman, saw the potential for this new product and agreed to Jacob’s proposal. On May 20, 1873, the two men received patent no.139,121 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. That day is now considered to be the official “birthday” of blue jeans.
With the patent secured, Levi hired Jacob Davis to oversee production of the riveted pants at the Levi Strauss & Co. San Francisco plant. Sometime during 1873, the first riveted clothing was made and sold. (the exact date was lost along with the company records in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire).
The denim for the riveted work pants came from the Amoskeag Mill in Manchester, New Hampshire, a company known for the quality of its fabrics. Within a very short time, all types of working men were buying the innovative new pants and spreading the word about their unrivaled durability. Hard to imagine that back in 1885, when denim first established itself as a reliable work wear cloth for a working man’s garment—that a pair of Levi overalls cost $1.25. Brand new.
Holding a patent on this process meant that for nearly twenty years, Levi Strauss & Co. was the only company allowed to make riveted clothing until the patent went into the public domain. Around 1890, these pants were assigned the number 501, which they still bear today. When the patent expired, dozens of garment manufacturers began to imitate the original riveted clothing made popular by Levi Strauss & Co.
2011-01-04 21:50 编辑：kuaileyingyu
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