I don't know how many of you had this experience in your youth, but when I was a kid, I used to actively think about what would happen if I suddenly woke up in a fantasy land, or were to pass through a portal into another space and time. I knew it wouldn't really happen, but when you're a kid, these can be important issues to you. So I slept with my glasses on every night, just in case. Photo from George Pal's The Time Machine.
I've seen some pretty ugly steampunked guitars in my day, but this isn't one of them. This one's about as beautiful as they get. French company Wild Customs made this Gibson LesPaul into a steampunk masterpiece.
As I said in this earlier post, there's no easy way to explain or define the Steampunk aesthetic. There are a large number of Steampunk tropes or "cues", as I call them, that bring to mind the feeling of Steampunk. These cues combine to push past the "not-Steampunk" threshold into firmly "Steampunk" territory.
Sometimes I forget that I'm also a fiction writer, so I thought it might be a nice change of pace to share one of my stories with you. I wrote this piece awhile ago for an anthology that never came together and I'm tired of just sitting on it.
This bicycle was found through website CustomMade, which is sort of like an Etsy for people who will custom make things to your specifications rather than selling things they've already made. If only I had the money...
I just returned from a trip overseas and I came across this great article over at The Chronicles of Harriet about the role of black men in the evolution of Dandyism. Dandyism rose to prominence at the end of the 19th century, so there's a clear connection to Steampunk. I hope that many black men embrace the fashion and find their way into steampunk!
Many people have spent many hours discussing how to "properly" be Steampunk. Well, I turned it around and asked myself, "How can you not be Steampunk?"
If you're a steampunk enthusiast looking to give your bathroom an extra kick, this just might be the project for you. This stylish and functional "vintage" toothbrush timer knows when you've grabbed your toothbrush, and will visually count down two minutes before alerting you when you've brushed long enough. All you'll need to put one together yourself is a microcontroller (the designer used a ATmega328p), a weight sensor, light bulbs, brass cups and a tray, an alarm clock's chime, and some w...
I know, "Steamdown" conjures images of a hoedown, but "Steampunk prop breakdown" is a bit of a mouthful, I thought.
As practically the entire Steampunk world knows by now, IBM has predicted that Steampunk will be the big new trend from 2013 to 2015. They based this prediction on their computers, which sift through broad swathes of the internet in order to see patterns that may help commercial industries. According to them, Steampunk has been on the rise for the last few years, and they predict that it will explode into peak popularity within the next two years. But what does that mean and how will it impac...
Today, on our first episode of Steampunk Research and Development, we'll be interviewing Thomas Willeford, owner and operator of Brute Force Leather. Thomas is a man of many talents, and has worked in a vast array of fields. His Steampunk work can be seen in his book, Steampunk Gear and Gadgets, as well as on the television show Castle. Thomas is also one of the creative consultants on the upcoming television show Lantern City.
This week on the Steampunk Research and Development Podcast, our guest is Joey Marsocci, better known to the world as Dr. Grymm. He's a full-time, professional Steampunk maker, and is the owner and operator of Dr. Grymm Laboratories. He's written several books and has worked as a designer at companies such as Hasbro and Disney. In fact, he worked with Disney to design the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attractions for both Paris and Tokyo Disney parks.
We could use some more cool steampunk films, and this one looks like it has pretty high production values for an independent thing. So far as I'm concerned we can use more steampunk horror, too. I love that stuff.
This week, another guest returns to our Steampunk R&D show for the second time, Thomas Willeford. In our very first podcast, Thomas talked to us about creating his empire; this time we most notably talk about his recent appearance on the Science Channel's program Odd Folks Home, in an episode entitled "Blow Off Some Steampunk". Thomas Willeford is the owner and operator of Brute Force Studios, and has been responsible for some of Steampunk's most recognizable props and accessories, such as th...
President Andrew Jackson was a pretty rough guy. He routinely fought in duels, and even used to beat people with a stick. That's not very funny.
While this is pretty out of the way for people who don't live in Poland, this restaurant, Wodna Wieza, is really gorgeous!
Many of us in the Steampunk community have pets that we love and cherish, myself included, and we want those pets to share our joy of Steampunk. In reality, they couldn't care less, but for some reason we still love to dress them up. Their reactions usually range from bemused acceptance to temper tantrums, but the awwwws we get from onlookers usually makes it worthwhile.
You may or may not care about this, but sometimes it physically upsets me when I see gears stuck together haphazardly, with no concern for whether their teeth interlock. I mean, what do you do with non-interlocking gears?
Say whatever you want, but Steampunk is primarily a maker culture. Consider that Steampunk has existed since the 1960s and yet more or less languished in obscurity until approximately 2005, which is when it made the leap to costuming. That costuming was what provided the leap to the tangible, despite the fact that Steampunk art had also existed for years.
In the early 20th century, some people decided that it would be a great idea to play polo with cars. Sounds like a great idea, right? It was, and it wasn't.
Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous characters in modern history, and has appeared in film more often than any other character. No less than 78 different actors have taken their turn at portraying the enigmatic deduction machine in various mediums, and each has brought their own foibles to the role. Some of the names may even surprise you: Tom Baker, John Cleese, Peter Cushing, Charlton Heston, Christopher Lee, Roger Moore, and even Leonard Nimoy.
Not sure if this is specifically counts as steampunk, but it's awesome nonetheless:
As you know, it's impossible to be a Steampunk without a pair of goggles. In fact, there are entire communities dedicated to judging other Steampunks based solely on their goggles. A Steampunk without goggles is like Samson without his hair, or a duck without a beak—totally powerless. As I'm sure you also know, the right pair of goggles can instantly render any outfit Steampunk, no matter what it looks like.
There are tons of uses for a flashlight. You can turn it into a laser, hack it into a night vision flashlight, or make it super bright. Or if you're a Steampunk Jedi, you turn it into a steampunk lightsaber. Jen from EPBOT started with a vintage flashlight and attached a piece of plumbing extension pipe. Screen splicing was glued on with E-600 for the grip and brass mesh with buttons and rhinestones makes up the 'control panel.' She added a silver gear to cover up the logo on the end. The LED...
If you want to make clothes for your cat, you're on your own. As I recently said in this article, cats will just totally flip out if you make them wear things. Your dog may also flip out, but I've found them to be more tolerant, personally.
Those of you who have attended a Steampunk convention in the last year or two may have heard of something called "Tea Duelling" and been intrigued.
This post has been brought to you by the letter S. With the Christmas season fast approaching, it's time to ask one of the most important questions of our lifetime:
Once you have the skills to bring your ideas to life, the hardest part is coming up with ideas. What do you do when you can't think of something to make? What happens when your well of inspiration runs dry?
For creating my costumes I try to use only authentic materials, such as old leather, steel, brass, copper, wood and glass. Nearly nothing is glued, most parts are reversible connected with screws.
First off, let me say this—using real steam power is dangerous, and heavy, and just generally not worth it when you have modern alternatives. Except, you know, if you're a Steampunk. Or this guy:
So I have been wondering this for a while now. What exactly is steampunk? I know a little bit about it but I feel as thought the internet definitions can only give so much information. What do you guys think? Is steampunk a lifestyle? A fiction base? A for of a art? I think that steampunk has way more potential than people think. Share your ideas on what you think steampunk is and what you would like to see be done with it!
So, you want to throw a steampunk party and you have almost everything in place—your steampunk persona and iPhone are ready to go, and you've even got your own steampunk straight razor. What's missing? The Elixirator, that's what. The Elixirator is a steampunk cocktail-making machine by Botronics that can hold four different ingredients and mix up to ten drinks. It has a Picaxe microcontroller for a brain and was built using a lot of pieces from thrift shops. It has a plasma globe at the top ...
Jake von Slatt of The Steampunk Workshop kept breaking the rear glass panel on his iPhone. So, he ended up making his own gorgeous replacement out of brass to replace the standard Apple logo ones who kept getting. The only problem was that it made his signal strength super weak, so he figured out how to transfer the etching onto a glass back. Here's the basic rundown of how he accomplished this feat...
"Jef with one F" from the Houston Press compiled a list of the 10 best steampunk songs, but it's really a collection of the best steampunk music videos. There are some amazing videos in the collection, such as this one, "Brass Goggles" by Steam-Powered Giraffe. It's not the best-looking, but it's a great performance.
We don't spend much time thinking about bicycles today, do we? Sure, they're a "green" alternative to driving everywhere in cars, but the vast majority of America has dismissed them as simply being too much work, or more importantly—too slow. That wasn't always the case, though, I assure you!
Steampunk is a tremendously interesting phenomenon because of its reliance on science fiction, and fiction in general. Steampunk can arguably be broken down into two categories: the fiction, and the aesthetic. Sometimes these categories cross over, but they're often more distinct than most people suspect; that said, the aesthetic is firmly based in works of fiction.
I chose to make this a Steampunk iPad case, but you can change the details and make it look as modern as you'd like. As I said earlier, Steampunks probably shouldn't buy iPhones or iPads, but if you're going to get one, you may as well make it look cool, right? The iPad pictured below was borrowed from a friend of mine, though I should add that this design will easily work with tablet computers of any variety, Apple, Android, or otherwise.
I can imagine you sitting there thinking to yourself, "I've played a lot of games! I bet he won't have any that I don't know about!" Well, that's entirely possible. I'm only drawing from my own personal experience here, so you may, in fact, know of all these games.
We frequently associate plastics with the modern era, starting at around the 1950s with the prevalence of bakelite. However, for all of you "you can't use plastic in Steampunk" purists out there, I have bad news for you:
This may seem like an odd subject, because what do Steampunks and iPhones even have to do with each other? Actually, more than you might think!