That Unshrinkable Levi’s Legend (Smithsonian)

Long before $200 designer jeans, there were Levi’s, which are celebrating a birthday of sorts. On May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for their invention: cotton work trousers strengthened with copper rivets to keep the pockets from tearing. According to the company’s list of “20 Facts About the Levi’s Brand That You May Not Know,” Mr. Strauss himself never wore a pair of jeans, for back in the day, “they were pants for laboring men, not mature, wealthy businessmen. But he insisted that the pants be of the highest quality, even though they were workwear.”

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