On May 20, 1873, Jacob W. Davis of Levi Strauss & Co. received patent #139,121 for an “improvement in fastening pocket openings.” Davis’s improvement consisted of “the employment of a metal rivet or eyelet at each edge of the pocket opening to prevent the ripping of the seam at those points.”
In a deposition given during a patent infringement lawsuit in 1874, Davis recounts the story of how he came to first use rivets on work pants. He explains how, in January 1871, a woman asked him to make a pair of pants for her husband and to make them strong. Before working on the pants, he had been using rivets to attach straps to horse blankets, and when he noticed the rivets lying on the table, he thought to use them to attach the pockets.
Patent Drawing for J. W. Davis’ Fastening Pocket Openings, 05/20/1873
Suit up with this vintage football gear, just in time for Superbowl Sunday!
Michael Jackson: Moonwalker, Gravity-defier, Performer & Patent Holder
Pop singer Michael Jackson was born on August 29 in 1958. Jackson was not only a performer but also a patent holder. Jackson was granted patent 5,255,452 for a “method and means for creating anti-gravity illusion.” That’s right—his famous leaning move in “Smooth Criminal” was made possible by a device he created to insert in his shoe. You can read the full story and see more drawings from his patent application here: http://blogs.archives.gov/aotus/?p=2574
In 1830, Sewall Short and Noah Bradford submitted a patent application for the submarine explorer. In their application, they claimed that they had created a water-tight suit, different from any diving apparatus known before.
Drawing of Submarine Explorer, 02/18/1830
In 1867, William F. Goodwin, of Washington, DC, applied for a patent for an improvement in mechanical toys. His drawing shows a mechanical horse, but in his application he explains that his invention “can be applied to toys made in the image of a variety of animals, either quadruped or biped.
Drawing of Toy Horse, 01/22/1867
Nineteenth Century’s Tickle-Me-Elmo?
Did throngs of desperate shoppers once rush through cobblestoned streets in search of Clay’s “Creeping Baby Doll”? Or did Victorian-era bargain hunters squabble over Hart & Tileston’s clockwork duck? While the holiday shopping season is largely a modern phenomenon, maybe one of these clever toys graced a few privileged wish lists.
What are you in search of this Black Friday (or are you observing Buy-Nothing Day)? Was there an elusive toy that you recall your parents braving hordes of holiday shoppers to find?