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Levi Strauss

Born: February 26, 1829
Died: September 26, 1902
Famous For: Inventing the blue jean

Levi Strauss

Levi Strauss was born in Bavaria and in 1847 arrived in New York with his mother and two sisters. His two older brothers were already thriving in the dry good business there, and Levi jumped right in. Then came word of the Gold Rush in California and in February 1853 Strauss sailed west via the Isthmus of Panama to start his own dry goods store. His goal was to outfit miners going to the gold fields and supply everyday merchandise to the rapidly growing population of San Francisco. His first store was located on Sacramento Street and then the business expanded to occupy 14-16 Battery Street.

In 1872 Strauss received a letter from a tailor in Reno, Nevada. Jacob Davis was looking for a business partner in order to patent a new idea of his, the placing of metal rivets on mens trousers, making them more durable and stronger at critical seams, such as pockets. Strauss agreed to partner up and in 1873 the patent was granted.

The original blue jeans were advertised as being "riveted waist overalls" appealing to miners, cowboys, construction workers, farmers and anyone who was looking for a sturdy pair of work pants.

Entrepreneur, family man, philanthropist Levi Strauss, has outfitted generations of city and country folk with the iconic blue jean. It's still going strong.

Noteworthy:Levi Strauss & Co. Headquarters is located at 1155 Battery Street, SF 94111. The adjacent plaza with fountain and rock work, shade trees and benches is a sweet place to take an afternoon break.

Levi Strauss