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Jacob W. Davis (Youphes) was born in Rigamarker, Latviamarker in 1831 and came to Reno, Nevadamarker in June 1868. A tailor, Davis used small copper rivets to reinforce and strengthen items including harnesses. In 1871, a woman approached Davis to make pants for her husband, who was quite large. Davis decided to use the copper rivets to reinforce stress points in the pants.

At the time, Davis made tents and wagon covers with cotton duck cloth, an off-white canvas-type material he bought from Levi Strauss & Co a San Franciscomarker merchant. Davis' copper-riveted pants and overalls, made of duck cloth, and later also denim, sold well. Worried that others were pirating his product, he asked Levi Strauss to support him in a patent application. He offered to share the patent rights with the San Francisco company.

Levi Strauss agreed, and the patent was granted on May 20, 1873.

Davis not only partnered with the company, he moved his family to San Francisco shortly before the patent was granted, and became production manager for a line of Levi's copper-riveted clothing. Davis sold his interest to Levi Strauss & Co. around 1907, but continued as manager until his death in 1908.

He also held his business for about 3-4 years before losing his position.


  1. Jacob Davis Biography from Levi Strauss

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