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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripleblessed View Post
    The belief that natural dyes are dull and chemical are bright is a misapprehension of the process and the nature of the chemicals.
    Natural dyes ARE chemical dyes, just chemicals that appear in nature. Modern dyes tend to be lab chemicals. Either set can yield
    both bright and dull colors, per the choice of the dyer. Another major factor is the mordant used. The same dye on the same fabric
    can yield completely different colors, or different hues of the same color by the use of a different mordant. Or the same mordant
    with a different pot. Or no mordant, just a different pot, in which case the metal in the pot can act as a mordant. Very old and
    sometimes complicated technology, but no less effective than how it's done today. Easier today, maybe, but the old ways still work.
    And to illustrate the point, these shades were all produced with traditional natural dyes.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by figheadair; 6th April 17 at 03:14 PM.

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  3. #22
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    I can attest that the kilt is decent camouflage. I was tasked to play as OPFOR (opposing forces) at my unit's Annual Training where we were training another unit to deploy. I was on one of the ambush lanes wearing my Armstrong Tartan, foliage green socks, tan boots, tan t-shirt, and an ACU load bearing vest. Even when standing in plain sight most people did not see me.

    I think just about any tartan could have been used for stalking deer or other purposes, because as other have metnioned its more about breaking up shapes than it is blending perfectly.
    OblSB

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  5. #23
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    The claim of tartan as camouflage goes back a lot further then the kilt. It has been debated if the Britons used tartan as camouflage or just fashion when fighting Rome. Those debates can be fun to listen to at times. I have spoken with some re-enactment groups that have tested it and found that most muted or hunting tartans do work as camouflage.

    I think this leaves the question of did they use it as camouflage?
    Last edited by LKM; 7th April 17 at 07:22 AM.

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  7. #24
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    Arrow

    Maybe we're all talking past each other, using one word to signify three different things...

    1) Camouflage - the act of hiding, preferably in plain sight. (art)

    2) Camouflage - the organized knowledge of how best to hide, preferably in plain sight. (science)

    3) Camouflage - fabric and fashion design oriented specifically toward the organized knowledge of how best to hide, preferably in plain sight. (technology)

    Similarly, while the concept of gravity as a mathematically expressible interacting attraction between all bodies (all things having some value of mass) is recent, people have LONG known the best ways not to fall, and went to great lengths to secure themselves from falling. With varying degrees of success.
    Last edited by Bamamedic; 7th April 17 at 08:15 AM.

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  9. #25
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    I don't think tartan use was so black and white like a lot of people think it was. I assume that like today people did not wear all the same thing in the same color. As humans no matter the era we like to express ourselves and use what is convenient and/or practical. That being said I'm sure even tho most of the tartans we've found are mostly bright red, I'm sure those were not the only tartans around. I'm sure some people like really bright tartans some liked more dull, drab tartans. Just depends on personal taste and function.

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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derekc5555 View Post
    I don't think tartan use was so black and white like a lot of people think it was. I assume that like today people did not wear all the same thing in the same color. As humans no matter the era we like to express ourselves and use what is convenient and/or practical. That being said I'm sure even tho most of the tartans we've found are mostly bright red, I'm sure those were not the only tartans around. I'm sure some people like really bright tartans some liked more dull, drab tartans. Just depends on personal taste and function.
    I would say that it had more to do with what the weaver, in conjunction with the vendors felt was the most marketable. If we believe the homespun myth then Scots would have had to have multiple wives and kids, just to have 2 people dedicated to cloth production just to keep a family in clothing. If the tartan available at the time was red, then unless you have the cash to commission a special run, or "Import" the cloth from outside the local area, you are going to wear what was available.

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  13. #27
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    I suppose we can't talk about camouflage without mentioning the Gillie worn by game keepers laying in wait for poachers. Moss, boxwood sprigs, and what knots will break up the brightest of tartan.

  14. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Scott View Post
    This suggests that Highlanders had a good understanding of the concept:

    "They delight in variegated garments, especially stripes, and their favorite colours are purple and blue. Their ancestors wore plaids of many colours, and numbers still retain this custom, but the majority now in their dress prefer a dark brown, imitating the leaves of the heather that, when lying on the heath in the the day they may not be discovered by the appearance of their clothes; in these rather than covered, they brave the severe storms in the open air, and sometimes lay themselves down to sleep in the midst of the snow."

    The Habits of the Highlanders, George Buchanan, 1582
    https://books.google.com.au/books?id...page&q&f=false
    enjoyed reading several of those letters, thanks.

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  16. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by IsaacW View Post
    I am not getting into camouflage or not, historical or not. I do dislike the idea that pre-modern dyes were drab as this is proven to be a false statement. Certainly drab colours can be produced, as can bright.

    This all said... here is a fun anecdote. When I was in college, our dorm went "paint-balling." One chap from 3rd floor was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, which most folks found to be quite the laugh. Their laughing stopped when they found that he was the best camouflaged man in the woods. The assorted bright colors, in their odd formation, created a nice break up of his body shape and surprisingly blended in quite well.
    Regarding bright colours, depending the foliage you are hiding in wearing all drab might not be good. In Scotch Broom (which i think may be the same plant as Gorse) in full yellow bloom or in Heather is full purples, color might be a good idea.

    Much of the fabric of a Highlander's great kilt would be bunched up (esp. in cold weather) which would break up a human outline.

    Also, this theory may just boil down to a plaid garment is better than the bright red of the British Army uniform (as others have pointed out).
    Ok, I'm done beating a dead horse. Or, horses.

  17. #30
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    My opinion of the tartan / camouflage discussion is.

    1, When you dyed your wool, you used the materials around you to produce the dyes. Therefore if you are in your home area your dyed wool will match the surrounding scenery whether bright or not ( for the most part ). It's that time of year at the moment SWMBO is busy collecting for her weaving group....

    2, Highlanders and come to that everyone else outside the big towns and cities will have known about camouflage and concealment, hunting was part of the way of life. ( Even if the laird didn't think so)

    3, Warfare of the period was roughly the same throughout Europe, big troops of men marching up to formal battles. However local military enforcement against local "rebels" ( and the reverse ) would be more like guerrilla tactics.

    4, Loose cloth as in a feileadh mor, will break up the human shape whatever the colour.

    5 The red coats were not the scarlet most people think of until 1881, but a much duller red madder colour.
    "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give"
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill

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