This Day In History: Levi Strauss patents blue jeans

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The first denim "waist overalls," which were marketed to laborers, were an instant success in the U.S. (ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

If it seems like blue jeans have been around for a long time, that's because they have. The popular pants were first patented 143 years ago on May 20, 1873.

A year earlier, in 1872, Jacob Davis first created work pants that had metal rivets at the stress points. He wanted to file for a patent but didn't have the money, so he asked Levi Strauss to fund it. Strauss "agreed enthusiastically," according to History.com, and on May 20, 1873, Strauss and Davis received a patent for blue jeans.

The pants were dyed blue to hide stains. The first denim "waist overalls," which were marketed to laborers, were an instant success in the U.S.

The work pants became a symbol of youth rebellion after James Dean popularized them in Rebel Without A Cause in the 1950s, and by the 1970s they had become casual wear.

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