Levi's is renowned for its beloved blue jeans. The brand—founded by German immigrant Levi Strauss in 1853—is now one of the most iconic clothing names in the industry. Though they've been around for generations and a pair can be picked up at contemporary stores, there are certain classics that are vintage and hard to come by. For explorer Brent Underwood, the jeans seem to have presented a sort of holy grail in his subterraneous adventures among the abandoned mines of California. After a recent trek through an old abandoned mine, Underwood took to his YouTube Channel (Ghost Town Living) to announce an exciting discovery—a rare pair of 100-year-old jeans.
You might be wondering why a pair of jeans were found in an abandoned mine. Well, blue jeans were originally invented to serve as durable pants for working men, including the ubiquitous miners who flocked to California in the latter 19th century. Denim was not new, but work pants with metal strong rivets were crafted by a tailor named Jacob Davis, who later partnered with Strauss to patent the pants in 1873. The garment was quickly adopted by workers. This adoption coincided with mining for silver, lead, and zinc in the region of Cerro Gordo, a mining town in California.
Underwood lives in Cerro Gordo despite its abandoned state. He explores the silver mines with care, climbing old ladders and discovering the debris left behind by generations of miners. While down the Jefferson Chimney (also called the Union Mine), he happened upon crumbled and dirty denim. On YouTube, he expressed his excitement at the rare find: “I found something I've been looking for for a very long time!” The pair of jeans are complete with embossed buttons which look quite similar to those on today's Levi's. Given the date of the mine's use, the pair must be at least 100 years old and may be even older.
Underwood's journey took skill and dedication. Mines can be dangerous, taking training and skill to navigate safely. For the descent in which he discovered the jeans, he used hundreds of feet of rope, and it took multiple days. Other items discovered on such trips include vintage signs, a leather bag, and even old, unused dynamite. To explore these mines from the safety of your own home, check out Underwood's fascinating videos on YouTube and his Instagram.
Brent Underwood—an explorer who plumbs the depths of abandoned mines—discovered a pair of 100-year-old Levi Strauss Jeans.
The aged denim was unearthed in a mine shaft called Jefferson Chimney at the abandoned Cerro Gordo mining town, an old silver mine in California.
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Underwood, who runs a YouTube Channel called Ghost Town living, was very excited by this rare discovery.
h/t: [Laughing Squid]