Tearing It Up
In addition to making waist overalls, the company manufactured jackets and other durable outerwear articles, eventually producing solid-colored and patterned muslin button-up shirts. Because of the overwhelming demand for the jeans, it quickly became clear to Strauss and his nephews that they would need to find a new distributor for denim. The company had been purchasing its denim from the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in Manchester, New Hampshire, one of the oldest and most established textile mills in the country. In 1875, Strauss purchased the Mission and Pacific Woolen Mills to ensure that his company would always have a ready supply of material for its pants. Although lack of railroad lines made national distribution of the jeans impossible, sales in the West were staggering. In 1886, the company introduced its trademark leather patch on the back waistband that depicted two horses attempting to pull apart a pair of the jeans. The original jean design was called XX but was changed to 501 in the 1890 catalog, the same year that the riveted pants patent expired.
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