We all must have noticed the presence of small copper buttons around the pockets of a pair of jeans. These buttons are known as jeans rivet buttons. Most of us wouldn't have paid attention to their presence but they are essential elements in jeans and have an exciting story of origin.
The origin of jeans and jeans rivets
The first pair of jeans was designed in the late 19th century through the partnership of Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss. Jacob Davis was a tailor in Reno, Nevada, while Levi Strauss sold fabrics.
Firstly, rivets were used for horse blankets for strength. Jacob Davis draw the inspiration from horse blankets and began to use rivets to reinforce clothing.
In the years leading to 1871, he often bought fabric from Levi Strauss & Co and made clothing with rivets for miners. He found that daily mining activities damaged miner's clothing. The clothes ripped apart due to pressure caused while carrying heavy tools in the pockets and also due to continuous wear and tear of dipping tools in and out of the pocket. Therefore, he used copper rivets to support the areas around the pockets and the crotch for durability and to increase strength.
Then Jacob sent a descriptive letter to Levi in 1872, requesting for a partnership as Levi Strauss & Co was already an established firm with operations in many regions. This letter led to a great partnership between both the companies.
Levis and Jacob together formed a patent for "improvement in fastening of pocket opening" in 1873. They also set out together to form a new type of work clothing called "waist overalls" with copper rivets around pockets and crotch.
Why should jeans rivets be used?
Rivets are placed strategically around the high-tension areas in the pair of jeans. Earlier, when rivets were invented to reinforce clothing, riveted jeans were manufactured for miners. However, it is the durability and toughness of the jeans that led it to become the attire of choice for manual workers as well.
Rivets are used even today. Though these have evolved over years in terms of their design and material, rivets are still positioned at high-tension areas in a pair of jeans for extra support.
The innovation by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss was born due to its necessity during that period. Little did they know that what they created would become a mainstream clothing item which will last for more than two centuries.