The 1966 501® jean represents a snapshot in time. This style – bar tack instead of rivets, big “E” red Tab – only existed from 1966 to 1971, just a blink of the eye in a very long life of the first blue jean.
When the back pocket rivets were covered in 1937, everyone thought that would solve the furniture-scratching problem. But those rivets were tougher than they looked, and after a few years of hard wear they just wore right through the denim, scratching things up again. By 1966 technology had caught up with history and it was possible to bartack the pockets so that they were as sturdy as they had been in their workwear days.
In 1971, the name LEVI’S® on the double-sided red Tab would change to read Levi’s®, making the 501® of the late 1960’s the only ones without covered rivets and a big “E” Tab. Which means that a guy who hitchhiked his way to San Francisco in early 1967 and brought a pair of 501® jeans to wear during the Summer of Love was not only experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime event, but was wearing a unique pair of jeans; a pair which would change again when Woodstock was just a memory.
THE 1966 501® JEAN HAS A ROUNDED TOP BLOCK (“WINGING”) AND A TAPERED LEG.
— Cone Mills 12oz Red Selvedge denim (14oz after wash)
— 2 back pocket with bar tacks instead of rivets
— TW0 Horse leather-like patch
— Double sided “E” red Tab
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LVC 1966 501 Roadside