This Day In Market History: Levi Strauss Granted First Blue Jean Patent

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened? On May 20, 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were officially granted a patent for their design for blue jeans.

Where The Market Was: The blue jeans patent predates both the Dow and the S&P 500.

What Else Was Going On In The World? In 1873, Jules Verne published “Around The World In 80 Days.” Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for voting in the U.S. presidential elections as a woman. The average American blacksmith earned a daily wage of about $2.60.

Blue Jean Patent: Levi Strauss moved to San Francisco in 1853 at the age of 24 to open a dry goods store amid the California gold rush. Roughly 20 years later, Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis were granted a patent for their design of adding rivets to work pants to improve the strength of pants for working men.

Levi Strauss didn’t begin to produce what is considered to be modern blue jeans until the 1920s, and even then they were mostly used as work pants in the American West. Starting in the 1950s, blue jeans gained popularity among young Americans for their style, comfort and durability.

Strauss died in 1902, leaving behind an estate worth about $6 million at the time, or more than $170 billion in 2019 dollars.

Levi Strauss & Co. LEVI went public in 2019 and has a market cap of $6.5 billion.

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