All the spinning Mills in Blairgowrie were founded on Flax. Flax is amongst the oldest crops in the world. It has been grown since the beginnings of civilisation, primarily for its use in linens, though the seed (linseed) is also a valuable source of oil. Burial chambers in Egypt, dated back to about 3000 B.C., depict flax cultivation and clothing made from flax fibres. The plant grows well in Scotland and linen has been produced locally for many centuries. The processing of flax involves stripping off the seeds and then soaking the plants in water for a couple of weeks to soften the outer layers of the stalk. ‘Retting ponds’ where this process was carried out are common in the Scottish countryside. The flax was then beaten with wooden knives to separate the unwanted bark from the long inner fibres (scutching) and then combed through a set of iron spikes to split and straighten the fibres (heckling). These processes were originally carried out by hand, as was the subsequent spinning of the fibres into thread and then weaving this into linen cloth.