Jeans - Turning copper into gold
In the 1950s, jeans became a cult object thanks to James Dean and Marlon Brando. The hard-wearing trousers were invented by Levi Strauss, a German who emigrated with his family to New York in 1848. Young Levi was among those infected by the gold digging fever on the West Coast of the USA, and in 1853 moved to San Francisco to set up a small business of his own providing supplies to the mine workers.
His best-selling item were indestructible trousers made of tarpaulin, and soon Strauss opened the first wholesale textile business. Instead of tarpaulin, he now chose denim, a blue cotton material. Unfortunately, the trousers were found to have one weakness – their seams. Jacob Davis, a tailor from Nevada, came to Strauss's aid, adding copper rivets to all weak points. Customers were highly enthusiastic about the invention – as was Levi Strauss. Because Davis lacked the necessary funds, the two of them had the new idea jointly patented, marking the birth of jeans as we know them today.
Significance: during World War II, jeans were brought to Europe by the US Army. Today, jeans are a firm fixture in wardrobes all over the world.
Invented by: Levi Strauss