Historically, important local industries have included coal mining and heavy industry, and locomotive, textile and carpet manufacturing (including the carpets of the Titanic). A hat known as the Kilmarnock bonnet, consisting of a flat broad cap made of blue, red, or black wool, has its origins in the town.
Robert Burns' first collection of poems, Poems, chiefly in the Scottish dialect, was published in Kilmarnock in 1786. Kilmarnock Football Club is the oldest professional football club in Scotland. Kilmarnock's intellectual hub is the Dick Institute, founded 1901, which house the town's library, art gallery and museum.