Metal rivets are attached onto jeans to protect them.
Ever wondered what the small buttons on your jeans pockets are for? Well, you barely ever gave it any thought, didn’t you? To be truthful, we also never considered of any importance until we had a situation at work. Someone’s jeans pocket tore off and to glue it together, the tailor asked for a pair of new rivets (yes, that’s what they’re called).
If you thought they were just for show and a probably a branding exercise for every company, you are wrong. Rivets are actually used in the making of jeans as a necessity and not a styling tool. The history is a very fascinating and surprising one.
In the late 19th century, jeans were worn by labourers who were involved in physical activities that made their pockets tear apart rather quickly. To find a solution to this, a tailor named Jacob Davis from Reno Nevada in the US attached these buttons on the sides at the ends of the pocket fabric.
A closer look at the metallic rivets attached on jeans
Jacob attached the rivets to the seams of pockets as a fastener. This tightened the ends and kept the pockets in place. With the rivets in place, the seams could not come apart.
Since Jacob didn’t have enough money to patent this, he approached a wholesaler in San Francisco called Levi Strauss, and they decided to jointly patent the technique. On May 20, 1873, the process was patented and the blue jean was born.
In 1890, the rivet patent went into the public domain so any clothing manufacturer could use them. Levi's began making the iconic jeans called 501 using the rivet design. A lot of historical details, however, are missing since the company lost most of their records in the San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906.
There you go, isn’t this the perfect mix of fashion and functionality?