Thursday, March 19, 2009

A study in steampunk over-engineering

It's come to my attention lately that some rogue scientists and engineers have been getting a bit more eccentric than usual. Now believe me, the good captain is quite fond of eccentricity and often indulges in a spot of it himself, but there is a point where common-sense should start waving a red flag or two.

Take, for example, the corkscrew designed by Rob Higgs. While a gorgeous piece of machinery and effective at not only removing the cork from your favorite bottle of wine but also pouring you a glass as well, it seems a bit impractical. Perhaps even dangerous in the right circumstances. Let's paint a picture shall we...

You've just returned to the lab after a lovely evening with a certain sweet lady. You've both had a few drinks and are looking not only to test said lady's claim of innocence but enjoy a nightcap along the way. Things are going well and fine Victorian clothing is piling up on the floor. Another drink is offered and stepping over to your "one of one hundred" corkscrews, proceed to see your gentlemanly cane sucked into a large exposed cog! I think a large cat could be sucked into this contraption, without the benefit of wine to use as an excuse!

While not advertised or promoted as steampunk in any overt way, I think in appearance it is wonderful and certainly looks like part, but I think one of the aspects of steampunk this misses is in keeping thing more or less practical. Sure, some extra cogs here and there might add to the look but overall the finished product does its job well and without 400lbs. of extra brass gears, levers, and pipes tacked on just for looks (whether they appear to do something or not, they are not necessary to the proper functioning of the machine or could not be replaced with a far more simple mechanism).

There's also a smaller issue of counter space. See for yourself ~

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