Levi Strauss & Co. (blue jeans)



Levi's logo
Levi's logo 1967
by W. Landor & Associates
Name: "Levi's 501"

Category: Fashion

Subcategory: Pants

Inventors: Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis

Producer: Levi Strauss & Co.

Patented: May 20, 1873San Francisco, California, USA

First price: In 1879 Levi's pants were selling for 1.46 USD

Features: The pants - called "waist overalls" - had one back pocket with the Arcuate stitching design, a watch pocket, a cinch, suspender buttons and a rivet in the crotch. The pants were made of 9 oz. XX blue denim, which comes from the Amoskeag Mill in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Interesting facts: Levi Strauss, a Bavarian-born dry goods merchant, came to San Francisco in 1853 at the age of 24 to open a West Coast branch of his brothers' New York wholesale dry goods business. One day the wife of a local laborer asked Jacob to make a pair of pants for her husband that wouldn't fall apart. Jacob tried to think of a way to strengthen his trousers and came up with the idea to put metal rivets at points of strain, like pocket corners and the base of the button fly. These riveted pants were an instant hit. Jacob quickly decided to take out a patent on the process, but needed a business partner to help get the project rolling. He immediately thought of Levi Strauss, from whom he had purchased the cloth to make his riveted pants. Davis wrote to Levi to suggest that the two men hold the patent together. Levi, being an astute businessman, saw the potential for this new product, and agreed to Jacob’s proposal. The two men received the patent on May 20, 1873.

Slogan (1887): «It's no use they can't be ripped».

Property: © Levi Strauss & Co.

Producer website: http://www.levistrauss.com

The first model of Levi's jeans
The first model of Levi's jeans - Ticket
XX: the first 501 jean with its guarantee ticket
(ca. 1899, from http://levisvintageclothing.com archive)

Strauss-Davis patent
Figure from Patent granted to Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss (May 20, 1873)

Levi's Two Horse Brand
The "Two Horse Brand" leather tag (1887) showing a team of horses trying to pull apart a pair of pants, began to be sewn into the back of the company's "waist-high overalls", the term Levi Strauss preferred to "jeans".

Levi's vintage flyer
Salesman's flyer (ca. 1900, from http://levisvintageclothing.com archive)

Levi's red tab
Levi's "Red Tab" (1936) was first placed onto the right back pocket of the overalls. The Tab was created to differentiate Levi's overalls from competitors.

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis
The inventors of Levi's 501 jeans.
From left: Levi Strauss (Buttenheim, Feb. 26, 1829 - San Francisco, Sep. 26, 1902), businessman; Jacob W. Davis (Riga, 1831 - San Francisco, 1908), tailor, inventor, and entrepreneur.

Levi's 501 celebrates 140th anniversary (2013) with a Documentary on YouTube: "The 501® Jean: Stories of an Original".