May 20, 1873. Clothing merchant Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis receive a US patent for an ‘Improvement in Fastening Pocket Openings’ for trousers. Davis came up with the idea after his customers repeatedly kept coming back to him to repair torn pockets. He proposed fastening metal rivets into the seam that would strengthen the cloth around the edge of the pockets. He went to Strauss for financial backing and the partners began to manufacture what are among the most popular items of clothing today- blue jeans.
Also on May 20: Charles Lindbergh departs on the first successful solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight (1927); end of the Battle of Hamburger Hill in Vietnam (1969); publication of the discovery of the HIV virus (1983); first post-Communist elections in Romania (1990)
Born on May 20: Honoré de Balzac (1799), Joe Cocker (1944), Cher (1946), Roger Milla (1952), Buster Rhymes (1972).
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