• The oldest known tartan design is the Falkirk tartan, which dates to around AD245. Used as a stopper for a pot to protect a treasure trove of over 2,000 coins, the fragment of cloth was found buried close to the Antonine Wall near Falkirk in Scotland. The small sample of cloth can be seen at the National Museum of Scotland.
• In an attempt to control the Highland clans that had supported the Jacobite Risings, tartan and kilts were banned under the 1746 Act of Proscription. People suspected of supporting the enemy cause were asked to take an oath, expressing that they would “never use any tartan, plaid or any part of the Highland garb, and if I do so, may I be cursed in my undertakings, family, and property – may I never see my wife and children, father, mother, and relations – may I be killed in battle as a coward, and lie without Christian burial in a strange land, far from the graves of my forefathers and kindred”.
• Thomas Sutton collaborated with the theoretical physicist James Clerk Maxwell to take the first colour photograph in 1861. The subject of the photograph, made by the three-color method, was a coloured ribbon, usually described as a tartan.
• Holland & Sherry, a textile merchant in Peebles, are the proud creators of the most expensive tartan in the world! The tartan, which features a luxury blend woven from pure Mongolian cashmere, will cost you £500 a square metre, or £5,000 for the kilt.
• Queen Victoria is partly to thank for the popularity of tartan today. A fan of all things Scottish, she attended the Great Exhibition in 1851 with her young sons, decked out in full Highland attire. Sales of tartan rapidly increased and became a popular choice for school uniforms.
• The singer, Elvis Presley, is said to have roots in Lonmay, a small village in Aberdeenshire, and in 2004 a local designer created an official Presley of Lonmay tartan in his honour! The Scottish Register of Tartans also lists the Presley of Memphis tartan by Brian Wilton. Accoring to the Register, the tartan "retains the colours of the US flag and discretely introduces Elvis Presley's favourite colour pink plus a gold band to represent his legendary number of Gold Discs. The white threadcount is 42 which was the 'King's' age when he died. The narrow white is 8 threads and represents the day of the month in which he was born whilst the 8 blue represents the month of the year in which he died."
Inspired by the colours and atmosphere of the historic site, in 2010 we designed the Knockando Woolmill Tartan. Rust from the tin roof, Blue from the Knockando Burn and Green from the surrounding fields all of which have played an important part in the mill’s crofting past. The mill’s distinctive window frame is represented in the blue and rust element of the check.
Other tartans designed and woven by us include the Aberlour Bicentenary - a tartan to celebrate Aberlour's 200th anniversary. The tartan is based on the Grant tartan, in honour of Charles Grant who founded Aberlour in 1812.