Moments in Time

This Week in History

Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis receive patent for blue jeans

Blue jeans were originally called "waist overalls."
May 2017

On May 19, 1997, a 3-year-old boy dies of avian influenza in Hong Kong. By the time the outbreak was controlled, six people were dead and 1.6 million domestic fowl were destroyed. The virus later mutated, becoming extraordinarily lethal, and killed 62 people in Asia before spreading to Europe.

On May 20, 1873, San Francisco businessman Levi Strauss and Reno, Nevada, tailor Jacob Davis are given a patent to create work pants reinforced with metal rivets, marking the birth of one of the world's most famous garments: blue jeans. They were originally called "waist overalls."

On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh lands at Le Bourget Field in Paris, 33 hours after leaving New York, successfully completing the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean.

On May 22, 1859, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of master sleuth Sherlock Holmes, is born in Scotland. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he met Dr. Joseph Bell, who helped inspire Doyle's Sherlock Holmes character years later.

On May 23, 1934, notorious criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow are shot to death in an ambush by Texas and Louisiana state police while driving a stolen car near Sailes, Louisiana. The Barrow Gang is believed to have killed at least nine police officers.

On May 24, 1991, the critically acclaimed road movie "Thelma and Louise" debuts in theaters, stunning audiences with a climactic scene in which its two heroines drive off a cliff in a vintage 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible.

On May 25, 1977, China's communist government lifts its decade-old ban on the writings of William Shakespeare, providing further evidence that the Cultural Revolution was over.


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