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  1. #1
    Join Date
    7th February 11
    London, Canada
    0 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)

    Our Fearless Leader . . . .

    January 6, Steve Ashton, owner and leader of XMarks is old enough to have a legal drink.

    Happy Birthday, Steve!

    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.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    9th September 16
    Annapolis, Maryland (MD)
    0 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)
    Happy Birthday Steve!

    Thanks for keeping this great forum and community going all of these years.

    The hielan' man he wears the kilt, even when it's snowin';
    He kens na where the wind comes frae, But he kens fine where its goin'.

  3. The Following 5 Users say 'Aye' to lschwartz For This Useful Post:

  4. #3
    Join Date
    5th August 18
    Broome County NY
    0 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)
    Have a happy birthday Steve !!!!!!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    24th September 04
    Victoria, BC Canada 48 25' 47.31"N 123 20' 4.59" W
    10 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you.

    Yes, I am officially old. I sometimes joke that when I was born, rocks were still young.

    They say that with age comes wisdom. Well, I figure that should kick in any day now.

    I have been with X Marks almost since its beginnings. The forum officially started on the 23rd of January 2004. I first discovered it on the 1st of May 2004. Like many, I lurked for a while before actually registering.

    For those who do not know, X Marks was started by Hank Hanna. Hank used be a vendor at festivals and Highland Games selling t-shirts and coffee cups with cute phrases on them.
    He liked to take photos of all the people. You know the ones. The guy with his kilt on backwards or with the basting stitches still in. The guy dressed like Mel Gibson in Braveheart and the Ren Faire costumes.
    He wanted a way to put his photos on the internet but the whole internet thing was still pretty young. There was no Facebook or Twitter yet.
    So he started X Marks as a way to share his photos. He got the name from a license plate frame that he sold. It had the Scottish Saltire flag as the X and was a play on the words of the old phrase "X marks the spot".

    Before X Marks there was another bulletin board called "Tom's Cafe". This was a place for those guys who were part of the "Men's Fashion Freedom" movement. Guys who feel that men should be able to wear what ever they want. Including kilts.
    But after a while a very vocal group, of guys who prefer to wear ladies dresses and undergarments, began to control just about everything on Tom's Cafe. Those who wore kilts were feeling a bit overrun and were looking for somewhere else to post.

    A couple of the first to find X Marks were Hamish, Raphael, Colin and Bikercelt. They found Hank's little bulletin board and began to post specifically about their kilts. This led to the very first rule on X Marks. "This is a group dedicated and specifically about kilts. There will be no discussion about cross-dressing or the wearing of items of women's clothing."

    Over the years there have been quite a few changes to X Marks. We started out with a bulletin board format and switched over to this forum software after about three years.
    Hank was never too active on his forum as he really had no interest in the day-to-day running of a discussion forum. So he began to ask other members to run it for him. At one time X Marks had over 20 staff members. Or about 10% of the total membership. We had an official Cartographer who maintained a map of the location of all the members and one who was in charge of a humor section of the forum.

    Jamie, known on the forum as Panache, stepped up and began to run all the day-to-day operations. But Hank was still the owner and still held the keys.
    It was Jamie who began a series of articles which became almost a full book about an X Marks dirigible in search of a mythical beast.

    Which led to this small, wood copy that began to travel from member to member with a logbook.

    Eventually the dirigible was replaced with "The Travelling Quaich". This Quaich made three complete circumnavigations of the globe. Being passed from member to member -"sharing our love of the kilt".

    In 2007 we began to think about having our own Tartan designed. Matt Newsome's design was chosen by vote and the X Marks Tartan was registered and the first bolts of fabric woven. The world's first internet Tartan.

    The forum's original crest was a bit different than the one we use today.

    And as many of you know, before there were crests, you could identify a clansman by a sprig of greenery stuck in his bonnet.

    The official plant of X Marks could be nothing more appropriate than the dandelion - We are everywhere and hard to eradicate.

    In 2009 I made a trip to Scotland. As a relatively new kiltmaker I wanted to meet with my suppliers. While speaking to them I would ask them why they were not interesting in becoming members or even advertisers on X Marks.
    Time after time I was met with much the same remarks. "Oh, it's just an American internet thing and does not interest Scots." and "We don't see it as something that will last. How can we be assured that our advertising investment will continue when Hank looses interest?" was another.

    When I returned from my trip I contacted Hank and posed these questions to him. Specifically, "If you get hit by a bus crossing the street, who is your designated heir to X Marks." His answer was "No one. Do you want it? Make me an offer." So I did, and on the 10th of October 2010 in Victoria, BC, Hank officially signed the forum over to me at one of the first large gatherings of X Marks members. The photo that is in the upper right corner of X Marks was taken at the hand-over ceremony.

    If anyone is interested here is the original photo. We are all doing "The Hamish" in our X Marks Tartan kilts.

    Other kilt related forums have come and gone over the years. X Marks endures and survives. Facebook now has many pages and groups about kilts, but X Marks is still the world's oldest, largest, and most active on-line community dedicated to the kilt.

    By today's count we have 22,500 members. (On average we gain 1-5 new members each day.) Our members have made 1,198,195 posts. (X Marks members can make more posts in one day than the average facebook page has in an entire week.)

    Not too bad for a small internet place dedicated to a single item of clothing.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 5th January 20 at 05:09 PM.
    Steve Ashton
    Forum Owner

  6. #5
    Join Date
    24th July 07
    Spotsylvania, Virginia USA
    2 Post(s)
    0 Thread(s)
    Belated Birthday Wishes, Steve!

    And as far as that legal drink Padre, Steve has been drinking it for years!

    Click image for larger version. 

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  7. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to Mael Coluim For This Useful Post:


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