A Jewish dry goods dealer named Levi Strauss, born in Germany in 1829, came to New York in 1847. Joining his brother-in-law in San Francisco in 1853, he stepped ashore in San Francisco minus most the dry-goods supplies he had brought with him, which he had sold to passengers aboard the trip he had traveled on, but he had a bit of canvas left, originally intended for tents and wagon covers. Almost as soon as he stepped off the boat in California, he used the canvas to design a pair of heavy canvas pants for a hard-working miner, and within a year Strauss—with his “Levi’s” was the biggest manufacturer of pants in California, and eventually one of the biggest in the world. In 1872 Strauss added a little fashion detail—the rivet—that eventually changed how Americans—and much of the world—dresses.

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