The online tool for teaching with documents, from the National Archives

What is Patent Number 139,121?

Focusing on Details: White Out/Black Out

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

You will see a patent drawing for an invention with its name and it's inventors' names hidden. 
 
Quickly scan this document. What do you notice first?


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

What is Patent Number 139,121?

Focusing on Details: White Out/Black Out

Examine the documents included in this activity and write your response in the space provided.


  • Describe the document and the invention it depicts as if you were explaining it to someone who can’t see it.
  • Based on what you can see, what do you think is the purpose of this invention? List evidence from the document to explain your opinion.

After you have made a hypothesis, click "View Entire Document" to reveal the invention. 

Your Response




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Activity Element

Patent Drawing for J. W. Davis` Fastening Pocket Openings

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Conclusion

What is Patent Number 139,121?

Focusing on Details: White Out/Black Out

  • How does the original purpose of this invention differ from its general use today?  How is it the same?

  • What positive effects has this invention had?
  • What negative effects has this invention had? 


Your Response




Document

Patent Drawing for J. W. Davis's Fastening Pocket-Openings

5/20/1873

In Reno, Nevada, in January 1871, the wife of a laborer asked Latvian-born tailor Jacob W. Davis to create a pair of cheap durable pants for her ill husband. Her husband was a large man sick with dropsy and could not get a pair of pants to fit him.

She paid Davis three dollars and asked for strong pants as he generally tore his clothes while laboring. This made Davis think of a new technique based on the work he had previously used for horse blankets and covers – the rivet. Instead of sewing at the pant's weak points, he used copper rivets to fasten them together.

After making a handful here and there, larger orders began to come in as other laborers noticed the quality of the pants. The cloth for the pants came from a supply store in San Francisco and its owner, Levi Strauss, was the first person that Davis told about his new invention. Strauss and Davis decided to partner and patented the invention for "fastening pocket-openings" under both of their names.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Patent and Trademark Office.
National Archives Identifier: 5928292
Full Citation: Patent Drawing for J. W. Davis's Fastening Pocket-Openings; 5/20/1873; Patent Number 139,121; Utility Patent Drawings, 1837 - 1911; Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://docsteach.org/documents/document/patent-fastening-pocket-openings, April 21, 2024]


Patent Drawing for J. W. Davis's Fastening Pocket-Openings

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