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Once upon a time there was a Bavarian-born man who sold clothes in the American West. Today we celebrate Levi Strauss Day and recognize the man who made blue jeans an American fashion icon. 

Below are some fun facts about Levi Strauss and the beloved denim pants.


This is an undated photograph of Levi Strauss, who originated the denim blue jeans that bear his first name. Strauss emigrated from Bavaria with his family to New York City in 1847. In 1953 he built a clothing factory in San Francisco, supplying tough denim wear for miners. (AP Photo)

1853: Levi Strauss moves to Gold Rush era San Francisco to open a dry goods business. He sold clothes, boots and other goods to the small retail stores of the American West.

1873: Jacob Davis, a tailor from Reno, Nevada, teams with Levi Strauss to create riveted-for-strength workwear made of true blue denim.

1890: The original blue jean is given its iconic lot number 501.


**FILE** The familiar red tag from a pair of Levi's 550 jeans is seen in this Oct. 11, 2005 file photo, in San Francisco. Levi Strauss & Co. is expected to release quarterly earnings on Tuesday, April 10, 2007. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, file)

1902: Levi Strauss passes away in September leaving the business to his four nephews.

1928: Levi’s is registered as a trademark.

Earns Levis Strauss

**FILE** The famed red tab is shown on the corner of the Levi's store on Union Square in San Francisco, in this April 10, 2007 file photo. Levi Strauss & Co.'s second-quarter profit rose 14 percent, accelerating a comeback that has spurred talk that the storied jeans maker might go public again after more than two decades as a privately held company. The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday it earned $45.7 million during the three months ended May 27 compared with net income of $40.2 million a year ago. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)

1936: The Red Tab is first placed onto the right back pocket of the jeans and the word LEVI’S is stitched in white to set Levi’s jeans apart from competitors.


James Dean is shown as Jim Stark in a scene from the 1955 movie "Rebel Without A Cause." (AP Photo)

1950s: Denim is banned in some schools for being a bad influence. The portrayal of denim-clad “juvenile delinquents” in movies and on tv led many school administrators to prohibit denim in the classroom, fearing that wearing the rebel uniform would lead students push against authority in all of its forms.

Blue Jeans Procedure

Broadway actress Theda Nelson demonstrates the recommended way to get Levi's to shrink to size: put them on and get them wet, just as she's doing here in San Francisco, Calif., Sept., 1, 1959. The procedure is one that has been followed for years and the makers of the famous jeans, Levi Strauss & Co., say that when Theda comes from the shower and dries off her jeans they will shrink an inch around the waist. The jeans also fade to a lighter blue. The first pair was sewn from sailcloth in 1850 by Levi Strauss for a California miner who complained that available pants were too flimsy for his work. Now, of course, casual living has made Levi's popular throughout the nation. (AP Photo/Goldberg)

Early 1960s: Pre-shrunk Levi’s jeans are introduced, relieving people of the process of a hot water denim marinade.

1980/1984: Levi Strauss & Co. makes clothing for the athletes at Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984.

1989: The company’s 150+ year history is captured in the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives, located at headquarters in San Francisco.

1999: Time magazine names the 501 jean the Fashion Item of the Century.

Too many facts? Try out some of these songs about blue jeans



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