Levi Strauss: The Birth of Levi’s Blue Jeans

Levi Strauss was born in Germany in the year 1829 and moved to America in the year 1847 to work for his brothers’ business. In the year 1853, Strauss migrated to the SouthWest where he began his own dry goods and clothing company. In the 1870s, his company birthed the production of heavy-duty work pants which is now commonly referred to as jeans and it has been in operation till this date.

Levi Strauss

Early Years of Levi Strauss

Named Loeb from birth, Levi Strauss was born into a large family on February 26, 1829, in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany. His father and mother, Hirsh and Rebecca Haas Strauss gave birth to two children and Hirsh had five children from the marriage he first has with Mathilde Baumann Strauss who passed away in the year 1822. The Strausses resided in Bavaria and had to face a lot of religious discrimination because they were Jews. There were totally restricted to where they could live and they were also special taxes demanded from them due to their faith.

When Levi Strauss was about the age of sixteen, his father passed away as a result of tuberculosis so he and his mother and two sisters moved to the United States two years after his death. Upon their arrival, the family was reunited with Jonas and Louis, Levi Strauss’s two older brothers, staying in New York City. Jonas and Louis had set up a dry goods business there and Levi went to work for them.

The Success of Levi Strauss’s Business in the West

In early 1853, Strauss traveled to San Francisco to sell goods to the thriving California Gold Rush mining trade. Strauss owned his own wholesale dry goods company and also was acting as his brothers’ West Coast agent.

As Strauss’s business grew, Strauss gave support to various numbers of religious and social causes. He helped in the establishment of the first synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, in the city and also gave money to several charities, which includes special funds for orphans.

The Birth of Levi’s Blue Jeans

Jacob Davis who was a customer wrote to Strauss in the year 1872, requesting his assistance. Davis, a tailor residing in Nevada, had purchased cloth from Strauss for his own business. And came up with a unique method to produce more durable pants. Davis made use of metal rivets on the pockets. And on the front fly seam to prevent the pants from wear and tear. When he discovered he was financially buoyant enough to cover the cost himself. Davis requested Strauss to pay for the fee so that he could secure a patent for his special design.

The year after, the patent was given to Strauss and Davis. Strauss knew that the blue jeans “waist overalls” as he refers to them. Initially, they were produced with a heavy canvas. And then the company changed to a denim fabric, that was dyed to blue. This was done so Jeans would hide stains.

Levi Strauss’s Death

Levi Strauss passed away at the age of 73 on September 26, 1902, at his home in San Francisco. After he died, his nephew Jacob Stern whom he had taught over the years became the company president and ever since then, the Levi blue jeans have remained in the fashion world till now.

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