Levi’s Jeans has a very rich history as it comes to denim. The early models are the most interesting as they tell all a great story from that time and these items are true historical moments in the denim industry. Not all the info is 100% garuanteed as the Levi’s HQ in San Francisco was destroyed by an earthquake in 1906, their complete archive was destroyed, and so are the stories behind every detail. Below some great old examples, from 1800 till 1947, from the one and only Levi’s Jeans from the U.S.A.

Levi’s Jeans 1800 model

1890 was the year that the 501 lot number was first assigned to the iconic jean. The number “5” were considered to be of the highest quality. A description of the quality of the pants was printed on the inside of the left pocket bag as another way to set the jeans apart from other clothing companies.1890 levis long john blog


Levi’s Jeans 1922 model

Belt loops were add to the 501 for the first time in 1922.



Levi’s Jeans 1933 model

Hidden under the leather patch of the 1933 501 was a tiny, white cloth label with the letters “NRA” and a blue eagle.  This was the National Recovery Act label which Levi’s was allowed to use because the company abided by President Franklin Roosevelt’s NRA labor rules of the 1930s.



Levi’s Jeans 1937

The 1937 501 featured the famous Red Tab with “LEVI’S” stitched in white capital letters on the right back pocket as an identifying mark to Levi’s Jeans. The Red Tab was introduced in 1936. This particular Red Tab is now also known as the BigE tab. In 1971 Levi’s swtiched to a small e in the Red Tab. The BigE tabs are true collector items nowadays. This model also has the first hidden rivets on the back pockets to safe furnitures from scratches.



 Levi’s Jeans 1944 model

Most important change was the famous arcuate stitching, it had to be removed since the threaded design was decorative and had no function. During WW2 every brand was forced by the government to save materials. Levi’s decided to print the arcuate so customers could recognize the brand in the stores. After a few washes the printed arcuates were gone. They used also standard buttons, no rivets on the coin pocket and the cinchback was removed.



 Levi’s Jeans 1947

After WW2 this would become the most popular denim fit. It’s also known as the mother of all fits. The classic 5 pocket with straight legs.



Source: http://abduzeedo.com


Written by Wouter Munnichs
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine, I'm working as a freelance denim specialist for the industry. Titled as 'Denim Influencer 2020' by Rivet 50. Celebrating my 10th anniversary with Long John this year.