For Christmas, my wife got me the book, Stuff Every American Should Know, by Denise Kiernan and Joseph D'Agnese, published by Quirk Books in 2012. An early chapter addresses the question of who invented blue jeans.
As early as the 16th century, merchants in Bombay, India, sold a hard-wearing fabric out of the Dongari Fort known as dungaree.
In Nimes, France, a factory produced a fabric known as serge de Nimes, which originated the word denim.
As Nimes was near Genoa, the French referred to the fabric as bleu de Genes, which translates to blue jeans in English.
In 1853, Levi Strauss partnered with Jacob Davis to create pants that could withstand the California Gold Rush's hardships. When miners complained that the pants tore easily, Strauss and Davis strengthened them with copper rivets, for which they received a patent in 1873.
So blue jeans are not an American invention after all. Only the rivets are!
This book (available on Amazon) has one more fascinating tidbit that I will share in one last blog post tomorrow. I recommend it.
Semi-American history is alive in the lab.