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After that point the kilt gathered momentum as an emblem of Scottish culture as identified by antiquarians, romantics, and others, who spent much effort praising the "ancient" and natural qualities of the kilt.

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A letter written by Ivan Baillie in 1768 and published in the Edinburgh Magazine in March 1785 states that the garment people would recognize as a kilt today was invented in the 1720s by Thomas Rawlinson, a Quaker from Lancashire.

After the Jacobite campaign of 1715 the government opened the Highlands to outside exploitation, and Rawlinson went into partnership with Ian Mac Donnell, chief of the Mac Donnells of Glengarry to manufacture charcoal from the forests near Inverness and smelt iron ore there.

The Jacobite risings demonstrated the dangers to central government of such warrior Highland clans, and as part of a series of measures the government of King George II imposed the "Dress Act" in 1746, outlawing all items of Highland dress including kilts (although an exception was made for the Highland Regiments) with the intent of suppressing highland culture.

The penalties were severe; six months' imprisonment for the first offense and seven years' transportation for the second. Thus, with the exception of the Army, the kilt went out of use in the Scottish Highlands, but during those years it became fashionable for Scottish romantics to wear kilts as a form of protest against the ban.

The great kilt is mostly associated with the Scottish highlands, but was also used in poor lowland rural areas.

Widespread use of this type of kilt continued into the 19th century, and some still wear it today.The word kilt comes from the Scots word kilt meaning to tuck up the clothes around the body, although the 11th edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (vol. Over the course of the 16th century, with the increasing availability of wool, the cloak had grown to such a size that it began to be gathered up and belted.The belted plaid was originally a length of thick woollen cloth made up from two loom widths sewn together to give a total width of 54 to 60 inches, and up to 7 yards (6.4 m) in length.Earlier carvings or illustrations prior to the 16th century appearing to show the kilt may show the léine croich, a knee-length shirt of leather, linen or canvas, heavily pleated and sometimes quilted as protection.The earliest written source that definitely describes the belted plaid or great kilt comes from 1594.The belted plaid worn by the Highlanders he employed was too "cumbrous and unwieldy" for this work, so, together with the tailor of the regiment stationed at Inverness, Rawlinson produced a kilt which consisted of the lower half of the belted plaid worn as a "distinct garment with pleats already sewn".

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