A patent for an invention is granted by a government to the inventor. It gives him or her the right for a limited period - usually 20 years - to stop others from making, using or selling the invention without the inventor's permission. The invention is territorial and protected only in the country in which it is patented. The first patent was granted to Filippo Brunelleschi in Florence in 1421, for a barge crane to transport marble. In England the first was granted i 1449 by Henry VI to John of Utynam for making stained glass for the windows of Eton College.
All these items, beloved of cowboys, are named after their inventors.
Levi Jeans : Levi Straus (1829-1902) was a Bavarian immigrant who arrived in San Francisco in 1850 at the height of the California gold rush. Strauss noticed that the gold miners needed strong trousers and began making them, first from tent canvas and later from denim with copper rivets to reinforce the seams. The hardwearing garment soon became standard clothing among cowboys, and the company has since become one of the world's largest clothing manufacturers.
Stetson hat: John Batterson Stetson (1830-1906) was a hat maker born in New Jersey. He established the John B. Stetson Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, which made the famous ten-gallon hat worn by cowboys. The hat was often called a "Jon B" before acquiring its more familian name of stetson.
Bowie Knife : The large hunting knife was supposedly invented by Colonel James Bowie(1799-1836). Bowie was a Texan adventurer and slave trader who died during the siege of the Alamo fortress by Mexican soldiers, alongside his friend Davy Crockett. In fact, his older brother, Tezin pleasant Bowie (1793-1841), may have invented the knife. The lethal weapon, jokingly called an Arkansas tothpick, had a blade of 25-38cm long, with a guard between the blade and the handle.
Cold revolver : The Colt was invented by Samuel Colt (1814-62), who is said to have whittled the original design in wood. Later, he perfected a working version that was patented in England and France in 1835 and in the United States the following year. Colts were used during the American Civil War, and the classic six-gun, the six-shot, single-actioin .45-calibre Peacemaket model Introduced in 1873, made Samuel colt a wealthy man.