The word “jeans” is a generic term for a particular kind of trousers, a garment that covers the lower part of the body from waist to ankles. Jeans are usually made from deerskin, cotton, denim, or hemp.
Jeans were originally designed as tough work clothes for cowboys in America during the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were designed to take a lot of hard use and were made from very thick cotton denim. The name “jeans” came from the nickname for the German city of Genes, which was the center of the cloth-making industry.
Today, jeans are found in almost every country and on every continent. They are used for work and play both in formal and informal situations around the world. The many variations in patterns, colors, and designs make them popular with consumers.
The first denim jeans were made in the early 1890s and were called dungarees. The word “jeans” first appeared around 1903 and was first used to describe blue denim that was similar to those worn by cowboys in the American West. The word came from Jona, a German city.
The first mass-produced blue jeans were manufactured by Levi Strauss, a tailor from San Francisco who had traveled to Genoa, Italy as part of his schooling as an American citizen to learn about the world’s best factories and processes for producing clothing. After an earlier visit to England, he returned to America and started work at Lauson’s Worsted Mills. After making a pair of denim pants for himself, he used his knowledge to make some more. His first order was for 500 pairs, which he sold for $7.50 each.
Levi Strauss began advertising his blue jeans in newspapers and by the mid-1890s his business was booming. He became known as “Mr. Levi’s” because the working class people who bought jeans were generally called “blue jeans”.
Strauss opened a factory store in San Francisco in 1894 where people could buy ready-made jeans and have alterations done on them there at very little cost. Strauss and his partners had a license from the City of San Francisco to sell denim overalls, jackets, and pants. They also sold jeans directly to the public for 25 cents per dozen (2 dozen=1 gross).
At first, Strauss’ jeans were only available in the West. Beginning in 1894 he began selling them nationwide by mail order and by 1897 there were more than 200 of his stores across the USA. The company began using motorcycles to deliver jeans and it began making trucks and Jeeps (military vehicles). At its peak, Levi’s employed more than 16,000 workers worldwide.
The company has made various changes over time. To make the jeans look more like tailored clothing, they began adding belt loops and using copper rivets to give them a better fit. They also changed the product’s name to “waist overalls”.
In 1907, Strauss sold his company to his three nephews for $500,000. By this time there were over 576 stores in the USA alone. They continued making changes such as adding brass rivets until 1935 when they were replaced by copper rivets that would blend into the fabric more easily. Over time, denim has become less stiff and faded with washing after washing, giving it its characteristically soft look and feel that has made jeans so popular today.
Made from cotton, jeans are popular with people of all ages. They are seen in both informal and formal situations all over the world. There are many different styles available, including boot-cut jeans which flare out easier than other styles and slim-fit jeans that fit very tightly.
Jeans made from a mixture of stretch material and denim allow a greater range of motion for the wearer. Jeans can be machine-washed in warm or cold water, but the warm setting is preferred to prevent shrinkage that may cause tears in buttons or zippers.
Jeans can come in many different styles.
One of the most common design elements is the zipper. Contrary to popular belief, the zipper (or “zip”) is not a military invention. The term “zip” was first used during World War II. Soldiers began referring to it as the “Zipperoo”, probably because it sounded like an amusing word or phrase in German or Italian, which were languages that were easily understood by English-speaking soldiers who didn’t speak German or Italian. However, the British army had never adopted this term and it was not adopted by them until many years later in 1948, after they decided that zippers were too convenient to leave only to American soldiers.
The zipper was first made by Gideon Sundback, a Swedish tailor. After being wounded in World War I, he invented an automatic metal-to-metal zipper to replace the endless straps that were used at the time for closing wounds.
A similar device was patented in 1868 by Joseph Goldstuck. While he never manufactured his device commercially, it remained available on the market for many years afterward. It was also used on some types of cloaks and dressing gowns.
The modern zipper was invented in 1932 by Herbert Matter, a Swiss engineer who worked with zippers for over fifty years. He first designed and patented a zipper that used a series of cams and levers to temporarily connect two rows of “teeth” on either edge of the zipper. This allowed the teeth to be pulled together so they could be joined. The zipper was operated by a slider which tugged at both sides, forcing them to meet. This action causes the opposing teeth to lock together as the slider is pulled down.
Matter’s first working model was completed in 1930, but was too complicated for it to be mass-produced commercially at that time.
In 1934, he began working with a French manufacturer for mass-production of his invention. However, the lawyer working for Matter and the manufacturer was not doing a very good job and the two men ended up suing each other. The lawsuit took so long that it delayed Matter’s plans to produce his zipper commercially and by the time they were able to settle their differences, World War II had begun.