Forever in Blue Jeans

Levis vintage rivet-compressed
Levi’s 501s initially had one back pocket and rivets stamped with the patent date (May 1873). The red tag was added in 1936. Photo from Unzipped, a Levi Strauss & Co. blog.

On this day in 1873, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss obtained a patent for pants with rivets or as we know them, blue jeans.  Davis, a tailor living in Reno, Nevada was encouraged by the wife of a local miner to create a pair of pants that could withstand the fabric-shredding conditions inside the mines.  Davis added rivets to the pocket corners of men’s denim pants.  Realizing his success, he contacted his fabric supplier, Levi Strauss and asked if he would pay the $65 patent fee.  Strauss owned a dry-goods store in San Francisco and apparently had much deeper pockets (I couldn’t resist 😉  He paid the fee and together Strauss and Davis submitted the patent and put the newfangled “waist overalls” into production.

My first pair of jeans were Levi’s 501 red tags.  I felt groovy and cool wearing them, especially with the handle of my purple comb sticking out of the back pocket.  What can I say? It was the 70s, a truly fashion-challenged decade (think: bell bottoms, wild floral prints, fashion boots, and the Carol Brady shag…yikes!)  Levi’s 501s have withstood the test of time, but I grew beyond my red tags.  I’ve worn acid washed, ripped, cropped, button flied, boot cut, straight-legged, low rise, mid-rise, green jeans, maternity jeans, mom jeans, not my daughter’s jeans, but never, never, ever jeggings.

Do you have a favorite pair?  Slap them on, shake your booty, and raise a glass to good old Jacob and Levi for giving us the ever fabulous waist overall.  Here’s a song by 1970s heart throb Neil Diamond to get you in the mood:  Forever-In-Blue-Jeans

Fun *Diamond* Facts:  Like Levi Strauss, Neil Diamond’s father was a Jewish immigrant and dry goods merchant.  He attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn and sang in choir with fellow classmate Barbra Streisand. They never spoke, but met for the first time 20 years later. Neil Diamond has written numerous songs including Sweet Caroline, I’m A Believer, and Red, Red Wine.

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