AKA Loeb Strauss
Birthplace: Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany
Location of death: San Francisco, CA
Cause of death: Illness
Remains: Buried, Home of Peace Cemetery, Colma, CA
Race or Ethnicity: White
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Blue jeans
Loeb Strauss was born in Bavaria, and came to America with his family when he was 18 years old. He worked for several years as a traveling salesman in Kentucky, where he was given his Biblical nickname "Levi." Then he followed the Gold Rush to San Francisco in 1850, to open a dry goods store with his brother-in-law. When customers complained that ordinary work pants ripped too easily in the rugged work of mining, Strauss had pants made from thick, brown canvas meant for tents. Those pants were much sturdier but not very comfortable, so he sent for the toughest cloth he knew of, a French-made fabric called serge de Nimes -- a name he shortened and Americanized as "denim."
In 1863, the business started calling itself Levi Strauss & Co., and in 1872, Strauss obtained the rights to a patented method for riveting the stress points on pants, devised by a Nevada tailor named Jacob Davis, which made rips much less likely. When Strauss adapted this technology and began riveting the pockets as well, the pants marketed as "waist-high overalls" became San Francisco's most popular men's workwear. The company was a multi-million-dollar business even before finally being incorporated in 1890. Strauss never married, and died in 1902, leaving his millions to four nephews and several San Francisco charities.
Father: Hirsch Strauss
Mother: Rebecca Haas Strauss
Brother: Jonas Strauss
Brother: Louis Strauss
Sister: Rebecca Strauss
Sister: Fanny Strauss Stern
Sister: Mathilde Strauss
Naturalized US Citizen
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