Originally the only recording activity would be similar to those
in other cultural activities such as musicians and storytellers.
Patterns would spread by diffusion according to interest and
Recording would be through memory, cloth samples and possibly
threads tied to sticks (used warp beams). Types of tartan would
not exist, and the local wool and dyes available would limit
the ambition of a weaver and wearer to certain colours.
Rescuing Tartan from Extinction
After the rebellion of Charles Edward Stuart, Highland
expression and the Tartan in particular was prohibited by law.
The growing Highland Regiments were amongst the few allowed
to wear it, largely in new patterns.
Weaving became commercial at Wilson's of Bannockburn where fortunately
many older designs survived on their books. As tartan became
legal, the gentry responded to the impending loss of Highland
traditions and sponsored a number of institutions, fashions
and research activities that coincided with a burgeoning Romantic
movement which was driven on by Sir Walter Scott's writing.
Not only were many traditional tartan designs "saved"
through these recordings but also many invented patterns, new
colourings and new concepts such as Clan Tartans arose. Most
traditional tartan patterns became fixed and named at this time.