The Serendipitous Birth of Blue Jeans

levi strauss true west
Levi Strauss

Just after the Civil War, merchant Levi Strauss had an overstock of canvas and didn’t know exactly what to do with the material.  He hit upon the idea of making them into pants. which he sold to miners and others out of his San Francisco store.

In 1872, a tailor in Reno, NV—Jacob Davis—improved on the design using rivets to strengthen the seams and areas around the pockets. He and Strauss got a patent for the design in 1873, and blue jeans were born. Davis and Strauss got rich from jeans sales.

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Mark Boardman

Mark Boardman is the features editor for True West Magazine, a former managing editor for Western Shooting Horse Magazine and the chief purveyor of ScarletMask Enterprises.