Levi Strauss & Co. has been in business for 145 years. Their trademark—blue jeans—have become an American classic. Blue jeans have a long, interesting history and have become an important part of our heritage. Read on to learn more about the colorful history of this American classic. In 1853, the gold rush was going on in California. Levi Strauss recognized that the workers panning and mining for gold needed tough, cheap clothes for work. He used cotton tent canvas to create overalls that would stay on in mining shafts and would not rip when the person wearing them rubbed up against rocks and other things. The overalls quickly became popular. As popularity rose, Levi Strauss switched from canvas to denim that was dyed to indigo. They became the clothing of choice for miners by the 1860's. In 1873, he began speaking to Henry Lee, a tailor in Reno, about a patent for riveting in the seams of the pants to make them last longer. Levi purchased the patent with Henry Lee and began riveting the seams of his pants—these rivets are still found in jeans today. By the 1880's, he had developed a trademark look for blue jeans, including the orange stitching with a design on the back pockets, the watch pocket, and the leather patch on the back of the jeans. This is when they adopted the name Levi's 501. People began wearing the blue jeans for recreation as well as for work. While the Levi Strauss blue jeans are still work pants for many Americans, they are also daily wear for most Americans. Levi Strauss & Co. still continues to make different cuts of blue jeans, which are all direct descendants of those first blue jeans in the 1800's. May 20, 1873, the day that Levi Strauss obtained the patent for the rivets, is still considered the birthday of blue jeans. So, the next time you wear your Levi Strauss blue jeans, remember their long, rich history.