On February 26, 1829, a Jewish boy named Loeb Strauss was born in a cottage in the Bavarian village of Buttenheim. As a young man, Loeb changed his name to Levi and wound up in California, where he opened a textile company. One day, a gold miner walked into Levi’s shop. “Look at these,” said the miner, pointing to his pants. “I bought them six months ago, and now they are full of holes!” When Levi asked why, the miner explained, “We work on our knees most of the time.”
“What you need is some really strong material,” replied Levi. A tailor was called—and the rest is history. Soon miners across the West were wearing Levi Strauss’s jeans.