Inside Athletics

Tartan Facts

The Carnegie Mellon athletic teams are nicknamed the "Tartans" as a nod to Andrew Carnegie's Scottish heritage. A tartan is often misrepresented as a fierce warrior from either the Asian tundra or Scottish highlands. In actuality, it is a twilled woolen fabric with a plaid design. The Scottish terrier mascot performer sports Carnegie tartan attire, while the graphic mascot is wearing a plaid scarf around its neck. So what's the difference between tartan and plaid?

You'll know it's a tartan if...
• "It's a check or pattern in a variety of colours in woven fabric in which bands of colour are repeated in equal proportion in warp (running lengthwise) and weft (running across)."
• "Each stripe of the warp crosses every stripe of the weft, so when vertical and horizontal stripes of the same color cross, the result is solid color at the point of intersection."
• "The arrangement of colored threads is the same in the warp as in the weft."

You can find our official tartan on various items in the University Store.

Source: "Tartan: Romancing the Plaid," by Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chapelle 


"Tartans rather suit the Scottish temperament of humor blended with seriousness.  There is something slightly coquettish about tartan plaid." - Annie Stewart, cofounder and director, ANTA.

"Tartan has been part of a living heritage which has changed to suit the needs of each new generation and which will doubtless continue to do so." - Iain Zaczek, author of "World Tartans."
Source: "Tartan: Romancing the Plaid," by Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chapelle

tartan thoughts