The family home and tailor shop of Jacob Davis was at the address formerly known as 31 Virginia Street. Although Jacob's work normally consisted of making tents, wagon covers, and horse blankets, he accepted odd jobs from time to time.

When a woman requested a pair of strong pants for her portly husband to wear while chopping word, Jacob hit upon the idea of reinforcing the pant's pockets with copper rivets he normally used for horse blanket straps.

He sold the pants to the woman for $3 a pair — about $68 at today's prices—and the legend that would become Levis blue jeans was born.
Trained as a tailor in what is now Latvia, Jacob immigrated to the United States in 1854 and worked his trade from New York to Maine, and eventually San Francisco and Weaverville, Calif., before heading into the Canadian wilderness to sell general merchandise to miners in 1858.

How he and his wife Annie Packscher met is unclear. The pair married in Victoria, Canada on Jan. 3, 1865. Annie was one of four sisters and one brother who emigrated from Prussia (now Poland).
In May 1868, Jacob moved his family to the new town of Reno where he immediately began working with Frederick Hertlein - they had been partners in a Canadian brewery, this time Jacob did not have the money to invest in the new venture.

Frederick was the sole owner of the Reno Brewery built on Commercial Row, directly across from the newly completed Central Pacific Railroad depot.

Even in that prime location, the brewery profits were not enough to support two families, so Jacob again took up tailoring.
He established his shop at 31 Virginia Street, between Second Street and Commercial Row, most likely in the summer of 1869.

Around September 1870, Annie's older brother Simon had traveled from Virginia City to San Francisco. Jacob wrote Simon that he was in need of ducking material for what had become his tailoring business, but he was not acquainted with any clothing business in San Francisco.

Simon had a cousin, who set up a meeting with a man named Levi Strauss, and Simon purchased Jacob's first bill of goods from Levi Strauss & Company, a dry-goods store that opened in 1853.
Jacob began purchasing goods directly from Levi Strauss & Company and produced about 200 pairs of riveted pants - made of white duck cloth during 1871-72, with a label reading "Patent Applied For" - prior to his patent application. The pants were sold for $3 a pair to storekeepers, surveyors, teamsters, farmers, and anyone who wanted them.

In July 1872, with sales going well, Jacob wanted to procure a patent to protect his idea. However, having spent much of his time and all of his earnings on his experiments and inventions, he noted: My wife was crying and begged me not to spend another dollar in inventions, for we needed every dollar that I earned.

Without the money (equals about $1,540.00 today) needed for yet another patent application, Jacob decided to write Levi Strauss & Company and ask the company to cover the expense in exchange for half the patent rights. In that letter to Levi Strauss, Jacob writes if the patent is granted I am willing to go either to San Francisco or New York to manufacture or represent a factory.

Levi Strauss took him up on his offer and in April 1873, the Davis family moved to San Francisco where Jacob assumed a foreman's position to oversee the manufacturing of riveted work pants.

That was the beginning of what today is the lucrative business of selling jeans in every color and style imaginable. Residing in San Francisco for the remainder of their days, Jacob died in 1908 and Annie passed in 1912.