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The Pants That Changed the World


1873: Blue jeans assume their distinctive form when a patent is issued for the rivet process used to strengthen the pockets on what were then called “waist overalls.”

Jacob Youphes, a Latvian immigrant who changed his name to Jacob Davis (.pdf) after coming to the United States in 1854, was working as a tailor in Reno, Nevada, when he hit on the idea of using copper rivets to reinforce denim working pants (.pdf). Since he obtained his denim from Levi Strauss & Co. in San Francisco, Davis approached Strauss with an offer to file for a joint patent.

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