Top 10 Steampunk Gadgets
We love Steampunk gadgets here at Mookychick – you’ll often see us tea duelling and perfecting our Steampunk tea party recipes while indulging in Steampunk style and music. Here are ten of our favourite Steampunk gadgets created by truly talented tinkerers. The Steampunk creed? Be splendid.
Victorian anachronism. Elegant. Functional. Adhering to natural materials (brass, wood, leather) rather than synthetics where possible and appropriate (but hey, rules were made to be broken). Modding and making from scratch. Valuing unique craftsmanship over mass-production and worker exploitation (most Steampunk crafters are hobbyists, and it’s pretty hard to exploit yourself). This is the Steampunk DIY ethos. With this in mind, we look at ten of the best Steampunk gadgets out there – in no particular order of preference. There are, of course, so many more…
1. Steampunk skull mouse
Classy, elegant and creepy. Creator Ivan Mavrov says the sheep used for this skull died a natural death. This functional computer mouse is made of brass parts and a sheep’s skull artfully cut to allow for left/right mouse clicks. Thanks to Darwin and Egyptology, we know how obssessed the Victorians were with death…
2. Steampunk camera mod
Herr Döktor says: “Oh, all right, it’s just a fancy case for my pocket digital camera, mainly so I won’t feel out of character taking pictures at the Asylum”. He is too modest. This functioning digicamera has been steamed up with styrene, fake rivets and brass bolts, and we have to applaud the gorgeous paint job. Nice work, sir! (PS – We’ve met him, and he’s a super chap).
3. Steampunk gin bustle
Steampunk seamstress and jeweller Jema Hewitt, author of the wonderful Steampunk Emporium craft tome and one of our favourite queens of DIY steampunk style, models not so much a gadget as a divinely inspired contraption, taking inspiration from Art Noveau peacock feathers and original Victorian gowns. The key (made by Herr Döktor, who is beginning to remind us of the “we will fix it” Bagpuss mice) is for aesthetic purposes only, unless Jema has a secret (in which case, we’re sure she’d rather it remained that way). There is, however, a bar cunningly disguised within the bustle cage. Pull the discreet tassle and the curtains swish aside to reveal a fully stocked cocktail cabinet!
4. Steampunk laptop
Datamancer Richard R. Nagy, creator of this famous steampunk laptop, is now taking pre-orders. Honestly, the best thing you can do with a Hewlett-Packard ZT1000 laptop is to turn it into a Victorian music box complete with an elaborate display of clockworks under glass, engraved brass accents, claw feet and an antique copper keyboard. Even better? You turn the laptop on by means of an antique clock-winding key. Don’t tell us you didn’t just have a ‘lovely’ (a euphemism, because we’re ladies) when you saw this. We know you did.
5. Steampunk toy
How can you expect your little coglings to grow up curious and strong if they don’t play with the right toys? Doktor A is a legendary maker of mind-bending Steampunk toys. He has a solo show on 1st April 2012 in Bath, UK. You’d be a fool to miss it.
6. Steampunk botanical vasculum
This lovely mini terrarium with solar-powered LED light and magnifying lens was invented by Tim Witteveen. Terrariums (originally known as Wardian cases) were invented during the Victorian era; botany was actually one of the most popular sciences of the nineteenth century. Because there was still SO much of the world – and its flora – to discover.
7. Steampunk decoder
Scratch a Steampunk, find a geek obsessed with Egyptian hieroglyphs, Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Babbage difference engines and… code. Code, pure and simple. This amazing steampunked decoder by Crankbunny is so nice it makes us feel a little sick. The custom message is coded up onto a discrete slip of paper that is hidden inside the card – it’s the perfect greeting card for the perfect geek. Or secret agent. Or you.
8. Steampunk bluetooth earpiece
Oh gosh – it’s the future today! Or the past today. Bluetooth is eerily futuristic – almost as eerie as a close-up of an ear, although we have made the photograph sepia to lessen the shocking impact on your sensibilities. Applause to its creator, Nicrosin. We’d have loved it even more if it was functional (sadly it isn’t. Can someone mod up a real version, please?).
9. Steampunk PC Workstation
Properly termed a Victorian Organ Command Desk, this beauty was commissioned by Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum for their ornate and spectacular Steampunk home. It’s made from authentic Victorian antiques, period reproductions and salvaged bitty-bobs including the corpse of a 19th century pump organ. Ha ha, the organ pipes are upside-down! This is intentional. They don’t play music, but that’s okay… Apparently it was common for chapel organs to have fancy but non-functional pipes looking pretty while the functional (and far less beautiful) pipes were hidden away.
10. Steampunk motorbike
Look! Looky-look-look! It’s a MOTORBIKE! It has STEAM coming out the back! It’s almost as beautiful as the Flying Scotsman! Artist Tome Sepe created the Whirlygig Emoto, an electric-steam hybrid motorcycle (although it doesn’t locomote using steam, it’s just got a steam boiler on the back. Well, we say ‘just’. It’s AWESOME) built from a 1967 Tote-Gote frame. If you’re still not impressed, a propane tank and torch mean that FLAMES. SHOOT. OUT. The back of the bike.
Dear little bike, how we do love you.
As Archibald knows, steampunk crafts take time and dedication. But it’s okay to cheat a little.