Today marks the birthday of Levi Strauss (Feb.26, 1829), the creator of the most widely used article of apparel. Levis, the first of many denim pants, can be found throughout the world, from the far East to Oceania and all of the Western world.
Strauss was born in Buttenheim, Bavaria, in a family of 2 older brothers and 2 older sisters. He emigrated to the US with his sisters, joining his brothers who had established a wholesale dry goods business in NYC.
In 1853 Levi left New York for San Francisco where he began his own dry goods business, Levi Strauss & Co Meanwhile, in Reno Nevada a tailor named Jacob Davis had been making work pants using rivets at points of stress for durability and wished Strauss as a partner. In May 1873 they received a patent for the copper revited pants.
The first material used was a heavy canvas cloth, later denim became the cloth used which was dyed blue with indigo. Denim is a stout, serviceable, twilled cotton fabric. Standard denim is made with indigo blue-dyed warp and gray filling yarn. It is the most important fabric of the work clothing group. However, we are all aware that denim now plays many roles in the realm of fashion.
During his lifeime, Strauss was well known as a philanthropist. When he died in 1902 he left an estate of nearly $6 million dollars and the business continued as a family concer.
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