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  1. #1
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    Clan Crest kilt pins

    I was looking at all the Clan-Crest-on-a-sword kilt pins on Ebay and thought it might be nice to take a longer view of these things, which many people getting into Highland Dress nowadays take for granted as "the" traditional Scottish kilt pin.

    AFAIK the Clan Crest accessory craze went hand-in-glove with the Clan Tartan craze, launched one could say by the Royal Visit in 1822, and part of a wider Gaelic Revival with romanticized images and writings about Highland things.

    It was captured in full bloom by MacLeay



    where you can see men wearing Clan Crests on bonnets, sporrans, plaid brooches, and kilt pins.

    As you can see the Clan Crest kilt pins of the period were like the bonnet badge, in fact could have been the same badge, or perhaps a slightly smaller version of it:



    I should point out that kilt pins in general weren't common in the Victorian period, most men going without. Kilt pins were usually round, or simple blanket pins.

    By the time we get to the 20th century the Clan Crest accessory fad was done. Highland Dress was sleek and far fewer accessories were worn. Kilt pins, when worn, were usually plain blanket pins.



    This catalogue from c1930 only shows blanket pins and grouse claw pins.



    This catalogue from 1960 has a variety of Robert Allison kilt pins. You can see that the sword & targe motif has become common



    And I did come across this kilt pin in one of the classic Robert Allison sword designs with a Clan Crest, so these did exist



    The first time I personally saw one of the modern Crest & sword pins from a modern maker was here, in the Scottish Shopper catalogue, this one from c1990. My earlier catalogues only had classic Robert Allison pins.

    On the bottom left you can see the new range of Clan Crest kilt pins by Carrick (est. 1971)



    Here's an old Carrick pin on its original card. I've never liked the way they moved the Crest up to cover the area where the hilt, blade, and crossguard meet, all of these things magically disappearing under the Crest.



    Here's a Carrick pin of the sort I sold in the 1980s when I worked at a Highland Outfitter. We had a big rotating rack of these.



    I have read that around 2005 Carrick was obtained by the St Kilda Group (Gaelic Themes, RG Hardie, Peter Henderson, etc) though the Gaelic Themes kilt pins look totally different (see below).
    Last edited by OC Richard; 17th March 20 at 06:31 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  3. #2
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    Thank you. As always a fascinating bit of kilt history.
    President, Clan Buchanan Society International

  4. #3
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    You're welcome!

    Slightly predating Carrick, if what I read online is correct, is Art Pewter Silver (est 1968).

    I'm not sure when their line of Crest & sword kilt pins were introduced, but these were commonly sold by many shops. IMHO they're the most elegant of the modern Crest & sword kilt pins.



    The back of an APS kilt pin card



    Notice the back of the card has a clear vinyl sleeve containing a small booklet



    Interesting it says 1992 while online I read 1968. Perhaps 1992 was when the line of Crest & sword kilt pins were introduced.

    I'm not sure what to make of kilt pins like these. The card looks like the Art Pewter Silver card, but as you can see the sword is a different design. (Note that the Celtic knot isn't knotwork but two intersecting bits.)



    Leaving Art Pewter Silver, here's a firm I'm not familiar with, Scottish Crest & Textiles.



    I mentioned Gaelic Themes above. Their lines of Clan Crest bonnet badges and kilt pins are notable in being chunky and inartistic. Here's their Crest & sword kilt pin line. Note the width of the sword blade strangely gets fatter under the Crest. The crossguard is pretty cool, like Longclaw in GOT.



    Now unnamed firms. Note the Celtic knot "bowtie"



    Same firm or not? Similar card, similar "bowtie", otherwise different.

    Last edited by OC Richard; 17th March 20 at 06:30 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Interesting it says 1992 while online I read 1968. Perhaps 1992 was when the line of Crest & sword kilt pins were introduced.
    Richard, I think that could be the date of the copyright for that particular item or that particular version, not necessarily the date of its origin.
    Rev'd Father Bill White: Retired Parish Priest & Elementary Headmaster, lover of God, people (most of them!) dogs, joy, humour & clarity. Legion Padre, theologian, teacher, philosopher, linguist, dreamer, traditionalist, bon-vivant, encourager of hearts & souls & a firm believer in dignity, decency, & duty. A proud Canadian Sinclair.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    Slightly predating Carrick, if what I read online is correct, is Art Pewter Silver (est 1968).
    A friend of my father's, Arthur Lawrie (of the R. G. Lawrie family) was for a long time MD of APS. He always maintained that their range was better because of the quality of the moulds. Such a lovely chap and a brilliant raconteur.

  7. #6
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    For me the Art Pewter Silver crest & sword range is the nicest-looking from any of the big-scale modern makers.

    Going back in time a bit, I don't think I've ever seen a Robert Allison design I didn't like.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  9. #7
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    I have purchased a couple of the pewter/nickel silver type and found them to be lacking.
    Although his offerings are very limited at this time, the ones I have purchased from Stillwater Kilts are of superior quality.
    Perhaps he may be persuaded to do one clan at a time, based on demand.

    Paul

  10. #8
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    These are quite nice, excellent detail!

    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    You're welcome!

    Slightly predating Carrick, if what I read online is correct, is Art Pewter Silver (est 1968).

    I'm not sure when their line of Crest & sword kilt pins were introduced, but these were commonly sold by many shops. IMHO they're the most elegant of the modern Crest & sword kilt pins.







    Leaving Art Pewter Silver, here's a firm I'm not familiar with, Scottish Crest & Textiles.




    Now unnamed firms. Note the Celtic knot "bowtie"



    Same firm or not? Similar card, similar "bowtie", otherwise different.

    Last edited by PinellasPaul; 21st March 20 at 07:19 AM.

  11. #9
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    What an education! I do plan to get a MacPherson kilt pin, and I didn't know there was anything beyond Gaelic Themes. Thanks for posting!

    Dave

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