May 20, 1873 marked an historic day: the birth of the blue jeans. This is the story.

Levi Strauss, a Bavarian-born dry goods merchant, came to San Francisco in 1853 at the age of 24 to open a West Coast branch of his brothers’ New York wholesale dry goods business. Within 20 years, he had made a name for himself as a well-respected businessman and a local philanthropist. One of Levi’s customers was a tailor named Jacob Davis.

One day the wife of a local laborer asked Jacob to make a pair of pants for her husband that wouldn’t fall apart. Jacob came up with the idea to put metal rivets at points of strain, like pocket corners and the base of the button fly. These riveted pants were an instant hit. Jacob decided to take out a patent on the process. He immediately contacted Levi Strauss, from whom he had purchased the cloth to make his riveted pants. The two men received patent #139,121 from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 20, 1873.

Two visionary immigrants—Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis—were able to turn denim, thread and a little metal into a sturdy garment that was the answer to the need for miners digging for gold in the California gold rush of the 1800s. The work trousers used to be called waist overalls, and were originally made of tent canvas. But then Strauss created pants that were made of a sort of hard cotton called duck cotton. Wearers liked the durability of the duck cotton pants but didn’t like the rough fabric because it never became soft and comfortable.  Strauss next hit upon the idea of using a twill fabric known as serge de Nimes, which he imported from France and which was more flexible. The blue fabric eventually became known as denim, the basis of blue jeans. Within a very short time, the garb became a huge success. Around 1960, the baby-boom generation adopted the term jeans for its favorite type of pants, which has now become the most popular apparel on earth.

Last week I brought my favorite pair of jeans to the cleaners’. As the assistant checked them over, she remarked, “Okay, no flaws …” I said, “Amazing, right? I’ve worn them for like, six years?” She smiled and said, “Still good to go for another six for sure.”

 

Glossary:

Rivet: a permanent mechanical fastener

Denim: a sturdy cotton textile

Twill: a type of textile weave with a pattern of diagonal parallel ribs

 

Activity: Fill the blanks with the best options.

  1. May 20, 1873 was the day when _______________.
  2. blue jeans were first acknowledged as a new product
  3. Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis made a pledge about their product
  4. two immigrants made the first product of a popular item
  5. Strauss was a man who______________.
  6. made good use of his ancestry
  7. was not arrogant about his success
  8. only catered to male customers
  9. Jacob Davis was _________________.
  10. a close friend of Strauss’
  11. obsessed with making money
  12. not indifferent to his customers
  13. The gold miners ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________.
  14. had a problem with their clothing
  15. wanted fashionable wear
  16. paid in gold for their jeans
  17. Duck cotton, although ________________, lasted a long time.
  18. durable
  19. uncomfortable for wear
  20. was thicker than denim
  21. The word denim ____________________.
  22. means serge de Nimes in French
  23. refers to the color of the fabric
  24. is part of the original French name
  25. The baby boom generation consisted of ______________.
  26. young adults
  27. babies who were just born
  28. elderly persons
  29. The closing of the passage is meant to ______________.
  30. stress how popular blue jeans are
  31. illustrate the jeans’ durability
  32. show the correct way of caring for jeans

Please check the answers to the activity above on April 16, 2018.

Here are the answers to the article of Animal Names Used As Verbs.

  1. Duck!
  2. He could rabbit on for hours.
  3. He was most likely to rat on his own bunch of crooks.
  4. Stop bugging me!
  5. He’s been dogged by one problem after another.
  6. Every time Henro sees Julia, he doesn’t have the confidence to ask her out on a date. He would just chicken out and run off.
  7. Just clam up.
  8. so now she’s trying to fish for the details of the discussion.
  9. Don’t pig out.
  10. She’ll probably freak out if she knows he is aping
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