Levi Strauss (1829-1902) immigrated to the United States from Bavaria in 1847. He worked in the family’s dry goods business in New York until 1853, when he Levi left for California as part of the great gold rush. He didn’t go to pan for gold; he went to open a branch of the family wholesale dry goods business.
In 1872, Levi Strauss and one of the merchants he supplied, Jacob Davis of Reno, Nevada, applied for a patent for a method of reinforcing pants that Davis had developed. The method involved placing metal rivets at stress points in the pants where wear normally occurred. These rivets made the pants stronger.
At first the pants were made piecemeal by sewers in their homes, but by 1880, Strauss has started a factory in which to manufacture the “jeans.” Due to the great success of the product, the company grew. They were soon making a variety of riveted products. One pant model, known as the XX, was given the lot number 501 in 1890.
When Levi Strauss died in 1902, the company was being run by his four nephews. It was they who, in 1906, rebuilt the company after the company buildings were destroyed in the fires that followed the San Francisco Earthquake.
During the 1930s, Levi Strauss & Co worked out a plan so that they could keep their workers employed through the Depression. It was also during the 1930s, in 1934, that they first made jeans for women. The line was called “Lady Levis.”
In 2002, Levi’s announced that they would cease all US production of their jeans, ending what was probably the longest production of a product in the United States. All Levi’s jeans, the All-American garment, are now made overseas.
Written by Lizzie Bramlett, fuzzylizzie.com