There’s an interesting reason why your jeans have those little buttons on the pockets — even though they might seem like they serve no purpose.
The question has long been pondered; one Yahoo! Answers user said the question had been “bugging her,” prompting her to search for an answer on the forum.
“They are called rivets, they are what made levis famous, they patented the copper rivets, [originally] jeans where workwear, and [the] jeans would wear out and rip at the seams, the rivets prevent the jeans from tearing along the seams. its an important part of holding them together, and its also part of denims heritage,” one user replied.
“During the CA gold rush, those were to keep the gold from ripping the pockets of the miners if they filled their pockets with gold so basically for strength [...]," another wrote.
May 20 is the anniversary of the day Levi Strauss patented the rivets. According to a report from History, Strauss patented the buttons at the request of a tailor in Reno, Nevada, who invented them.
In 1872, Strauss received a letter from Jacob Davis, a customer and tailor who worked in the mining town of Reno, Nevada. Davis reported that he had discovered canvas pants could be improved if the pocket seams and other weak points that tended to tear were strengthened by copper rivets.
Davis’ riveted pants had proven popular in Reno, but he needed a patent to protect his invention. Intrigued by the copper-riveted pants, Strauss and his partners agreed to undertake the necessary legal work for the patent and begin large-scale production of the pants. Davis’ invention was patented on this day in 1873. In exchange for his idea, Strauss made the Reno tailor his production manager. Eventually, Strauss switched from using canvas to heavyweight blue denim, and the modern “blue jeans” were born.
Since then, Levi Strauss & Company has sold more than 200 million pairs of copper-riveted jeans. By the turn of the century, people outside of the mining and ranching communities had discovered that “Levi’s” were both comfortable and durable. Eventually, the jeans lost most of their association with the West and came to be simply a standard element of the casual American wardrobe.