Jacob W. Davis (Youphes) was born in Riga, Latvia in 1831 and came to Reno, Nevada in June 1868. A tailor, Davis used small copper rivets to reinforce and strengthen items including harnesses. In 1871, a woman approached Davis to make pants for her husband, who was quite large. Davis decided to use the copper rivets to reinforce the pants for men.
At the time, Davis used white duck, a canvas-type material he had bought from Levi Strauss & Co a San Francisco merchant. Worried about others pirating his product, he asked Levi Strauss to support him in a patent application. He offered to share the patent rights with the San Francisco company.
Davis not only partnered with the company, he moved his family to San Francisco and became production manager for a line of Levi's copper-riveted clothing, a position he held until his death in 1908.