Whether you prefer it skinny, slim, loose, classic or distressed, you’ll notice that denim jeans generally have nine basic features that have remained unchanged for about 150 years. They have belt loops, a waistband, button, back yoke, coin pocket, front and back pockets, fly, and rivets.
While we all know the function of each detail, most of us don’t know what those small, copper tiny buttons are for.
We probably dismiss or just consider them a part of the jeans’ pocket design, but those rivets are not there for aesthetic reasons only—they have an interesting history, and they do serve a purpose.
The Gold Rush began when gold was found in California back in 1848. Needless to say, the miners wanted to be able to work without worrying about their “waist overalls.” They wanted clothes that were durable.
Apparently, the miners complained a lot about how quickly their pants wore out, especially the pockets, which always easily ripped at the seam.
One of Leob or Levi Strauss’ customers, Jacob Davis, a tailor from Reno, Nevada, finally thought of using metal fasteners to hold the pockets and the jeans together. He discovered that the copper rivets can help reinforce the stress points of the pants that tended to tear.
His riveted pants soon became popular in Reno.
Of course, Davis wanted to patent the idea to protect his invention. Unfortunately, the man didn’t have enough funds for it. In 1872, Davis wrote to Strauss and offered him a deal. Strauss and his partners accepted, proceeded with the necessary legal work, and began producing copper-riveted jeans since then.
Davis’ invention was patented on May 20, 1873. He also became Strauss’ production manager.
Thanks to these guys and those rivets, a pair of jeans can last a very long time.
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