Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Steampunk Miscellanea

So the weather has turned here, from idealic warmth and sunny breezes to cold with looming thunderstorms. Seemed to be a perfect time to get back to the Anomaly Obscura Engine and begin refining some recent additions made.

The first is a remarkable contraption, well contraptions really. Small autonomous mechanicals that eagerly investigate and explore every nook and cranny of machinery inspecting for damage or issues that may develop. They skitter, crawl, and climb there way through constantly gathering information with is then delivered to a central engine designed to gather and sort the data delivering a printed page with concerns to be further investigated! Truly this is not just marvelous, it's miraculous!!

Take a look at the mechanical mechanics
steampunk beetlesteampunk grasshopper

Beautiful no? Truly an example of science imitating nature - who better to explore every crack and cranny than an insect, and who better to explore every crack and cranny while gather diagnostic information and performing risk assessments on issues in the machine than mechanical insects! The genius behind these is Mike Libby, of InsectLab.

The next upgrade is a method of recharging small devices such as the Eye-Pod Victrola. This steampunk steampower generator is just what the good captain ordered! Crank up the engine and it's output is more than sufficient to breath new life into your gadgets and gizmos.

Not only functional, but sexy too! And note the miniature automaton operator, affectionately known as "Lego Man" for reasons only the inventor could explain. The mad scientist who invented this steamy wonder goes only by the name Thomas, so in lieu of a last name, here's a video of it in action ~

Finally we had a new goggle design for the intrepid tinkerer in all of us. These specs feature full frames and five, yes five, additional lenses for all of your occular enhancement needs!

Isn't that just lovely. Breathtaking almost, and the goggles look very good too! Forgive me, but the good captain is very appreciative of women in goggles. Yes he is.

While I ponder the source of this my little deckhands should be getting back to work, and watch where you step...those insects crawling about are expensive!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Assorted Miscellanea

So in lieu of adventuring these last few days, I've been taking advantage of the weather and simply idling about, filling my days with various research of no real value other than holding my interest and entertaining me. Perhaps some of this will eventually lead to something practical, but if not I would still be hard pressed to call the time wasted. I loved every minute of it!

Now, as I've been exceptionally lazy lately there is no grand tale of adventure to weave for you, my lovelies. I am sorry for that, but instead, I have a small collection of things that interested and entertained me over the last few days so I thought it well to share with all of you. If this is new, it could possibly be adventurous and if you've seen any of these before...pretend it's new and adventurous, will you. There's a good bean.

To begin with I found a lovely picture of goggles, monocles, and a ritual skull formed into a bowl (with skullcap lid, indicating a very high caliber of cultist, not your standard rat sacrificing cemetery urchins). In addition to finding the goggles and monocles quite agreeable, I find this to be a very artistic collage - quite pleasing and hopefully you'd agree.

steampunk goggles & monoclesGoggles designed by Joffum. (more to see at his Deviant Art page, including sales information)

Next up is a whimsical top hat that brought forth an admiring laugh from the good captain's lips. Kudos to the creator of this, as it truly brings us to the lighter side of steampunk...clear room on your hat rack for The Ludiculous Skytop Zeppelin Hat!

steampunk zeppelin top hatIs that not just marvelous! Designed and made by Porkshanks.

I found a remarkable steampunk site in æthyrnet that I found quite fascinating for a while. Eventually my inability to read Russian spelled the demise of interest, but there was a lovely collection of art there I enjoyed looking at. A fair bit of character designs and a few mechanical contraptions are waiting at... whatever that name says in Russian...
(As a side note, I'm hiring a Russian translator for the crew if anyone is interested)

I only hope these are ideas for a game, and not plans for a unstoppable tank armed with Unicorn technology from which the only escape may be a nihilistic aversion to rainbows. If only someone could translate these plans we might be able to find out before it's too late!

The last item of interest for today is the Steampunk Fashion group pool on Flickr. Just a lovely and long slideshow of beautiful people wearing beautiful fashions. I spent quite some time watching and ended up with a large number of ideas and sketches which I shall have to bring to my tailor. Spring time is a good time for updating one's wardrobe after all.

That's it for the good captain's not-quite-steampunk adventures today. Perhaps tomorrow will bring more sky pirates and oscillating obscura generators, I do sense a change coming in the weather...

Monday, April 27, 2009

Assorted Steampunk Tidbits

Well the weather has been unbelievably perfect the last few days still. When I say unbelievably perfect I truly mean it as well. Warm, soft cool breezes, abundance of sunlight. Even the nights have been simply magnificent! Hopefully you'll see this is leading into an excuse for my sorry state of attention to recording my adventures's hard to stay inside a workshop when the great outdoors are summoning you from a wintery hibernation, my friends! The good captain just had to get out and idly enjoy the weather, some wine, and some interesting companionship. Fortunately for you devoted deckhands I have some assorted items of interest that caught my eye over the last few days.

Now as I said, the weather has been wonderfully delightful and a good number of outdoor enthusiasts took to the roads in their interesting contraptions.

steampunk 3 wheel carThis three wheeled automobile is called the Ace Cycle Car, despite the fact that there's no pedaling involved. I jest, I jest. It's called that because with three wheels it will invariably flip over around a high speed turn and you'll find yourself cycling back to town for assistance. The couple I saw driving around seemed fit and healthy as they were enjoying a drive through the country so I imagine they've had the car for a while and are very accomplished cyclists now.

The second automobile that caught my attentions was the Ariel Square 4 Powered Custom. You see I was walking down a quiet country lane when my foot shot out from under me, as if I'd stepped on a roller skate. I stumbled but recovered my balance without falling over in a most elegant way. Looking back to see what I'd tripped on I realized it was this car driving by; the driver swerved a bit to close and I'd stepped right on it!
steampunk wooden carThe driver and I shared a laugh and after some brief confabulation I learned one of the biggest advantages to this car is parking! When in a tight spot, this auto can easily be parked beneath another auto, saving time and space! Magnificent!

While picnicing in a park the other day the good captain did spy a cute young and adventurous couple driving about on some lovely steampunk motorcycles. Not to be confused with diwheels featured recently, these wheels are in a line and it's not sideways. Nor was the couple! His bike truly was steam powered and was every inch a masterpiece, he introduced it to me as the Hubbard Steamcycle.
steampunk motorcycle
Her motorcycle was the one that I found more impressive, and it even came with a drawing! Apparently she designed it herself and he had is custom made for her, to her exact specifications.
steampunk motorcycle & concept art
After speaking with her about this incredible machine I quickly learned who wields the wrench in their relationship. Her steamy knowledge was deep and vast, while his was limited to his very polite company. I dazzled her with my own knowledge and by the end our conversations I do believe the good lady fancied me a bit, of course.

Now if you fancy me too, or at least your job, you should get back to the gears and start grinding!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Steampunk Mechtorians Are Coming!

A peer on the Brass Goggles forums, Doctor A, has created the most marvelous little mechanicals to aid you in your daily business. These adorable contraptions, known as Mechtorians, illustrate a beautiful and whimsical steampunk world with style and a sense of humor.
steampunk mechtorians
Just imagine having a gaggle of these to assist you in the workshop or laboratory! Just the presence of their cuteness will bring a gaslight to dark days, and the mischief they cause is so far quite harmless and certainly endearing, at least to the good captain and the crew of the Anomaly Obscura Engine. It's like having a pack of kittens frolicking about, but without the biological drawbacks of said juvenile felines. All these require is a small shot of lubricants once a week and you'll be in for hours of fun and adventure!

Gaze upon the adorableness ~
steampunk mechtorians - Stephan LaPod
For more information visit the Mechtorians Homepage, complete with more images and personal histories of all the Mechtorians!

steampunk mechtorians - boxes To order your very own Mechtorian assistants visit the SpookyPop website today!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Monowheel Extravaganza!

I have to admit something regarding some previous aadventures I've shared here. No no, I'm not about to say the adventures were made up fantasies or exaggerated even in the least so fear not! The good captain's tales are every bit as real as Baron Munchausen's himself!

No, what I must admit is that I've become quite addicted to "Help Me" by the Alkaline Trio, featured in the April 17th post, Steampunk Adventures of an Acoustic Nature. Watching that video repeatedly got the song stuck in my head, and now I happily sing along while watching it! To the point however, watching the video had me curious about the monowheel seen racing ahead of the locomotive. Ever since watching Steamboy I fell in love with the idea of the monowheel and thought how useful it would be having one (or several) available on the Anomaly Obscura Engine.

After some investigation the good captain has discovered the idea behind the monowheel is actually approaching it's 150th birthday! Here is a lovely image of the very first one made in 1869 by Rousseau of Marseilles:
steampunk monowheel
A most elegant design, however the lack of rubber tires at the time means the stiff outer wheel and lack of shocks would make this a most uncomfortable ride. Also, there's no actual steering, the handle bars are for holding onto as well as braking! (twisting them pulls taught a leather strap across the inner wheel, slowing the monowheel down, or something like that as I understand it)

The next monowheel that caught my eye was an early motorized one, while I appreciate the exercise involved in peddling my monowheel the good captain also has a reputation for idleness that must be respected. Which brings us to the D'Harlingue Monowheel developed in 1917 by Alfred E. D'Harlingue, seen in the picture below in the driver's seat.
steampunk monowheelAs you can see this is a much more involved vision of the monowheel, though I do find it wonderfully steampunk despite it's diesel powered's the spirit that counts! This invention is powered by the small prop engine and propeller meaning nothing to pedal, meaning reputation for idleness would remain intact, however I fear there would some issue with noise and tussled hair... the latter of course being unacceptable!

This next one is in my most humble opinion, the most beautiful of the monowheels. Designed by Erich Edison-Putnam in 1910.
steampunk monowheelThis is just a thing of beauty to my eyes. The wooden rim, brass horn, and of course stylishly dressed driver all contribute to this lovely image. I could easily see myself rolling leisurely down a forgotten country road or outracing a steaming locomotive in the high desert in this!

The final wonderful invention is not a monowheel, it's a diwheel! Not as elegant as the monowheel but capable of carrying a passenger. I can see this as a backup vehicle for when taking a certain yound lady out to a picnic whereas a monowheel might prove inadvertantly ungentlemanly.
steampunk diwheelNamed Ezekiel's Wheel after the first chapter of Ezekiel from the Bible, it was actually built some time in the 1980's but looks lusciously steampunk, brass levers and all! (I understand the bumpkin is not included)

While you plan for the first monowheel invitational race extravaganza I do expect you to be back at work, so get on with it! The work that is, though I do expect an invitation to the race...

(all of these and many many more can be found HERE!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Steampunk Clock Tells 10,000 Years of Time!

Today has been one of those days. All my best laid plans of adventure have been thrown off course in rather stupendous fashion, until ultimately I was forced to concede to the universe and abandon the adventures for tomorrow. I did make an interesting discovery however...

While racing through the æthyr trying to make my appointments I realized I left the workshop without a pocket watch! I was mortified and this breach in fashion, and while thoroughly chastising myself I was forced to stop and ask a fine gentlemen the time. He did not reply simply with the time as one would expect, but rather he replied "When?"

"Well, right now would be most beneficial", I smiled back thinking perhaps he was a bit daft, but then he stepped aside and revealed a most perfect timepiece. A work of art and science so beautifully melded together I literally stared for a minute in wide-eyed wonderment.

Behold, the Clock of the Long Now!

This amazing clock tells so much more than just the time! Its analog computational engine accurately tells the time of day, year to 5 digits (10,000 years worth of time), the position of the visible planets, moon phases, lunar eclipses, seasons, and the procession of the zodiac. The large round face even displays the night sky. It is indeed a mechanical work of wonder, one that will stand as a monument to clockwork genius for 10,000 years - accurately!

Some more images the Clock of the Long Now

For more information on this incredible undertaking visit the Long Now Foundation, and be sure to investigate their Orrery as well!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Steampunk Magazine Isseu #5 Available Now!

A quick note for those inquisitive crew members who can't get enough steampunk stories, essays, and esoterica, the marvelous Steampunk Magazine, after over a year of waiting, has finally released issue #5!

steampunk magazine issue 5 coverFeaturing everything from emergency welding to a very special guest essay by Bruce Sterling, it is available for download on the downloads page, and can also be purchased, as ever, through Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness.

Victorian Inventions Ahead of Their Time

The good captain must be honest, I do not like Mondays and I especially do not like Monday mornings. At least this particular Monday morning had the common courtesy to be cold and rainy. In light of the time, day, and weather I decided to take a short trip to a distant flea market and perambulate leisurely about. One can have the most lovely time seeing the knick-knacks and odds and ends that eventually find their way to a flea market, and any tinkerer on a budget knows the prices can't be beat. How better to start a week than investigating interesting curios and haggling for good deals, all the while enjoying a nice stroll about! So be happy, little deckhands, for I have found some most interesting Victorian artifacts today that I'm sure you will find as fascinating as I!

1. Victorian GPS
steampunk gps device
Our first curiosity is quite an ingenious little device. Worn on the wrist, this contraption contains maps of the roads and avenues so intrepid explorers and drivers will not get lost while out and about! How remarkable is that, to have a map accessible right on your wrist that will show you not only where you've been but what twists and turns lay ahead in the road! Behold, late Victorian GPS!

Simply plug in the map of the area you'll be traveling through and then set off without fear of getting lost. Ingenious!

2. Victorian Home Alarm
steampunk home alarmThis next little device intends to make your home, laboratory or workshop more safe. Secured to the floor next to the door, once activated by lifting a metal lever on the top, should the door open thus flipping said level down, a most devilishly loud bell will alert you to the intruder in your space. This is a must have for any mad scientist dabbling in experiments of questionable moral integrity. The Victorian Home Alarm!

3. Victorian Food Processor

victorian food processorNow I know how tired you get from chopping all of the vegetables that go into the good captain's meals (but do know how much I appreciate your cooking, despite what your salary might indicate) but this idea whose time has most certainly come should make the chore a joy from now on. Well it would if I had actually purchased it for you, but I did not, so instead you'll just have to imagine using this Victorian Food Processor and how much easier life would be!

4. Victorian Clockwork Teasmade

steampunk teapotThe last little gizmo I discovered this morning is by far the most interesting. This clockwork teasmade will automatically prepare and pour your afternoon tea freeing you to idle about and enjoy. Patented in Birmingham in 1902, the alarm clock triggered a switch and a match was then struck against moving sandpaper, lighting the spirit stove under the kettle. Once the water boiled, the steam pressure lifted a hinged flap and the kettle would tilt, filling the teapot beneath. Finally, a plate would swing over the stove, extinguishing its flames.

Sheer genius I would say. Truly we are stepping into a brave new world where one musn't do more than wake up in the morning while fantastic clockworks automatically perform all of our little tasks.

(Images and background information found here:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Steampunk Adventures of an Acoustic Nature

Today has been a day of marvelous adventures in accoustics, dear deckhands. I know all you can hear is the pumping of pistons and hissing of steam, but from where the good captain sits such sweet melodies have reached my ears I knew I simply must share or the good lord above might hold it against me when my number finally turns up. (My number is [227ver.1876] incidentally. I know you were wondering)

First, and truly you should prepare yourself for this, is an adventure some dear friends just shared with me. Damsels in distress, mad villains, amazing steampunk inventions traveling at dangerous speeds, and of course the three dashing heroes. Strap in and enjoy...

Alkaline Trio - "Help Me"

Next up for your audio-sensory enjoyment, a more somber tune set to some moving images which should naturally find a steamy place in your hearts. For interests sake, and perhaps this only interests me, but this was filmed just short of the arctic circle in about adventure!

Now we have an actual recording from 1904 that could not be more steampunk if it tried. Set to lovely images from Second Life (which happens to have a quite a large steampunk community) I present to you...

Finally, the good captain was so inspired by these beautiful sounds he made a small purchase for the Anomaly Obscura Engine. I expect this will help morale especially during tea time, as music does soothe the savage beast and we all know even wars stop for tea. We are civilized peoples after all!

I hope you do enjoy, and by all means feel free to sing them to yourselves while you get back to...ahh I just can't bring myself to say today, so lovely is the weather outside! Go enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

How exactly would you consumate such a steampunk marriage?

By jove, what a day it's been! I found myself engineer, hero, husband, and a possible polygamist all before breakfast!

It all started this morning, a bit later than normal. My trusty crew was toiling away on the Anomaly Obscura Engine like lovely little worker bees when I arose to some awful clatter. At first I feared the worst and thought such devilish sounds were from my beloved contraption, but all was well in my workshop. The noise is seemed came from some as yet unknown source outside.

Grabbing my goggles I went to investigate and what a wonder awaited me just outside my door. A beautiful steam powered goliath had apparently suffered catastrophic mechanical dissonance, it refused to run! Well, I thought, time get grease on my hands, as I approached the crew scratching their heads at their dilemma. The tale goes on from here ~

Morning, chaps! I chimed and asked just what could be the matter. The clockworks jammed, the gears are glued, and the tension bar is slack! The piston's pooped and cogs are clogged, it seems her spine has snapped!

Come now gents, it can't be done. A wonder like this must carry on! I grabbed my tools and tightened my goggles, crawling beneath the beast. Sure enough a mess was there, but I was sure it could be greased.

Through all the mess I looked and stressed until I saw the cause. Twas a snapped ring, so small a thing, that gave the beast her pause. From my finger I took a simple ring, the symbol of my marriage. I'd pay for this in flesh and blood, and just to fix a carriage! But I slipped it in, and she did sing, the beast would live once more!

The engine cranked, and I was thanked. Their saving benefactor! As away it turned a question burned, was I now married to that tractor?!?

A picture of the blushing bride:

Hornsby Steam Crawler - historical steampunk tractorThis beautiful steampunk contraption is actually a Hornsby Steam Crawler, and a most impressive thing it is! Not as attractive as my first wife, but certainly it's stronger!

I'd like to end this tale with a stiff drink and a toast, so raise your glass with me if you'd be so kind.

Here's to all the women I've loved, and all the ones I've kissed.
As for regrets, I have but one; that's all the ones I've missed.
Oh, women’s' faults are many, us men have only two:
Every single thing we say, and everything we do.

(Toast courtesy of Sean Patrick O-Byrne from the incomparable Steampunk Forums)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Steampunk Snipers, Spies, and Deathrays. Oh My!

What an adventure I have to share! Yesterday I was contacted by an old acquaintance who was in need of my services. It seems he was poised to make a rather significant purchase of a rather unusual, let's call it a scientific apparatus, but needed the good captain's expertise in such matters to ensure it was not just elaborate hokum.

Always happy to help, I agreed to meet with my friend at his office aboard the Nautilus:
Captain Nemo's Office - steampunk art by Alex Bloeckel
We sat, drinking tea and reminiscing about the old days while his henchmen stood guard. Apparently my old reputation was not forgotten here, but I digress. It seems the seller was a mysterious engineer who once assisted Tesla himself with various experiments regarding the quaking of the earth caused by mechanically induced resonance of the ground, and later served as the Kaiser's head scientific adviser. Intriguing no? The good captain certainly thought so!

After several hours sailing under the sea we arrived at the private island of this mysterious gentleman:
Strange Island - steampunk art by Alex Broeckel
It was here we were greeted by an associate of the the man in question:
Spy - steampunk character concept by JPowersDesign
I felt there was something a little off-putting about this Pedro character, but I could not quite explain why. The good captain has always been good at reading people, and this man's book was written in a language I didn't understand, maybe it was French. He seemed courteous enough, though spoke very little as he showed us to the mansion where he said the "Baron" was waiting for us.

A short walk and long climb later, we had arrived and at last afforded the opportunity to meet our business partner for the evening, one Baron Karl Von Tinkenburg III.
Engineer - steampunk character concept by JPowersDesign
Some pleasantries were exchanged, yes we found the island without any trouble, lovely what you've done with the place, and so on before our host lead us, still accompanied by Pedro, to the workshop to reveal the item that had caught my friend's interest so.

"Viola!" he said as he pulled off the sheet covering the device revealing the deathray aimed right at us! "At last I have you in my trap Nemo! That you would bring the pompous von Reik here is a bonus, and neither of you will escape now!" and then he began his evil laugh which, though certainly evil sounding, just wasn't very intimidating nor menacing. More like an evil rooster stricken with tuberculosis I noted, as I cursed the man under my breath! Pompous?!? Me?!?

No sooner had I crafted a most cunning plan to wrest control of the deathray from the Baron and throw Pedro out the window thus saving my companion and I when a gunshot split the night! The Baron fell to the ground before us, a pool of deep red spreading across the floor from his body. Seizing the opportunity I dove upon the Baron's corpse and pinned it to the ground, immobilizing it! Such heroics just come naturally I suppose.

Pedro asked if we were alright, and informed us he was actually an American acting as a spy for the French who had infiltrated the Baron's confidence in an attempt to thwart his promised vengeance upon the cheese making capitol of Western Europe! "Ha!" I thought, "French! I knew it" as Pedro removed his Poncho revealing the rifle that had done in the Baron.
Sniper - steampunk character concept by JPowersDesign
I commended his aim at 5 feet and inquired as to what kind of scope he preferred at that range, but Nemo insisted we leave as soon as possible and so the good captain never got the answer the that question. I did, however, manage to pilfer the Baron's pocketwatch before we made our way back to the Nautilus, and eventual myself back to the Anomaly Obscura Engine.

Truly a adventure in steampunk it was! I wish you all could have come along and enjoyed it for yourselves but sadly old Nemo is a bit particular about who he allows on the Nautilus. Hopefully you did enjoy the images used to illustrate this tale however!

Scenes by Alex Broeckel
Characters by JPowersDesign

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Emotional Range of Steampunk

In the good captain's most humble opinion, a great deal of steampunk visions and creations are decidedly lacking in emotion. If anything this might be a reflection of the industrial revolution and its impact on the era, which I would say would be sadly appropriate. Naturally, emotion does still manage to slip in occasionally, most typically in the artwork expressing the vision. For example, look at this wonderfully melancholy work by Kazuhiko Nakamura, "Requiem for Industry":

Requiem for Industry - steampunk art by Kazuhiko Nakamura
Simply marvelous, is it not! This picture makes me think back to another wonderfully melancholy steampunk movie that happily resides in my personal library - The City of Lost Children.

Images and visions like this are good and healthy for the steampunk genre, and are certainly appropriate as well. Despite the technological breakthroughs of the time and the new luxuries people were able to enjoy there came a price with such things, pollution, dangerous factory conditions, industrial slums, etc. For every newfangled horseless carriage some daring driver was enjoying down country roads there were a dozen children working the production line.

I hope I am not sounding like I prefer or even revel in sadness, but I believe it is important to explore all the emotional possibilities of a genre to fully appreciate it, after all - what is happiness or joy without sadness? They are not defined by their opposites, but their opposites allow you to appreciate the them in their full glory. Otherwise they would just feel hallow and empty. In truth the good captain is quite the optimist! I am happiest when I'm happiest! Sadness does take hold of my heart, as it does all men and women, but I understand it will pass and it will make the next high feel all the higher.

For example, ponder the above image for a while or better yet, follow the æthyrlink to the artists site and explore there for a bit. After allowing the emotional weight of the images to sit on your shoulders look at the next image and see what kind of reaction you have.

steampunk cat
No matter how serious a genre might seem, it is of utmost importance that it be able to laugh at itself once in a while or the whole enterprise is certainly doomed! With this in mind, I would also like to share the following:

steampunk penguin
You should be laughing now. If not, you should be getting back to work!
(if so, you should be getting back to work as well!)

Monday, April 13, 2009

This Workshop is Quite Able! Plus Steampunk Breast Pumps?!?

What an adventure it has been today! The good captain, still recovering from the von Reik family Easter Celebrations, decided the weather was too nice to sit around nursing an aching head and a nice climb above the clouds would be most effecacious in clearing the grease as it were. Indeed it was, for a bit, before adventures' magnetic pull seized the Anomaly Obscura Engine and found this incredible workshop hidden in the æthyr!

This is the workshop of none other than one Mr. Able, the Chair of Indefinite Devices of the Academy of Illustrious Artisans! The sheer number of words in that title should give clear indication as to the importance of the position I would imagine. Just in case it is lost on you, a glimpse of what works of wonder are produced and stored in this workshop will make it all clear very soon.

Behold, The Able Workshop!

First, the Clockwork Hand and Skull of Anton Evisser
steampunk clockword hand of anton evisser

steampunk clockwork skull of anton evisser

Next, the wonders of the Infinity Circuit
steampunk infinity circuit

Finally, the man himself, Mr. Able, with the Imp Fusticator
Mr Able with the Imp Fusticator

Quite the dashing hero wouldn't you say. See all this and more at the Able Workshop but be prepared to have all you think you know challenged! There is far more to this world than you think, precious!

Now for the steampunk mothers out there, behold the Victorian Breast Pump!
steampunk victorian breast pump

Discovered and shared by Lucius Voltaic on the world famous Steampunk Forums.

The text from the picture reads:
This Pump is the first perfect instrument of its kind.
It is highly endorsed by every physician who has tested it.
It has an automatic valve, allowing the patient to produce
Any degree of tension that may be desired, thus allowing
the milk to flow freely, without any pain.
It is especially adapted to cases of inverted nipple.

May images of automatic breast pumps dance in your head while you get back to the gears, my dear deckhands!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Steampunk on G4 TV - Happy Easter to Us!

Cheers and Happy Easter to all my lovely friends and crew! While I'd love to spend the day hunting eggs with all of you, the good captain's mother would skin his rabbit if he didn't spend a whiskey fueled day feasting with the family. In true von Reik fashion, there will also be gratuitous amounts of old world delicacies to eat to help hold down the whiskey, which is all just preparation for the time honored Easter Egg Cracking Competition!

Yes, for those who haven't left the workship in a while, an egg cracking competition requires each participant to select an Easter Egg which they feel has a good strong shell, and then turning to the person next to them you offer to hit or receive. With eggs held firmly in hand, they are cracked together and the one that remains intact moves to the next round. So it goes until only the strongest egg remains and is crowned Easter Champion! Hip hip, hurrah! Bragging rights are secured for a full year until the crown is defended or lost next Easter.

Also of interest, G4 TV has a new program called G4 Underground which, as described on their website:

From the cutting edge of the tech revolution to the lunatic fringe online, G4 takes you behind closed doors for a new series of guerilla documentaries. These are the stories other networks wouldn't dare touch.

I share this as tonight at 9pm est, they will be doing a segment on none other than Steampunk and Abney Park! The good captain is quite eager to see how they portray the scene and will surely be tuning in.

That's it for this quick Holiday update! Happy Easter to everyone!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Orientalism appropriately meets Steampunk!

During the Victorian era there was a strong movement in art and general interest regarding the near and middle east. Called Orientalism, here's a bit from wikipedia:

In the nineteenth century the numbers of Oriental scenes greatly increased. In many of these works the portrayal of the Orient as exotic and decadently corrupt is most fully articulated. Such works typically concentrated on Near-Eastern Islamic cultures. Artists such as Eugène Delacroix, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Alexander Roubtzoff painted many depictions of Islamic culture, often including lounging odalisques, and stressing lassitude and visual spectacle. Sensuality was seen as acceptable in the exotic Orient. This orientalizing imagery persisted in art into the early 20th century, as evidenced in Matisse's orientalist nudes. In these works the "Orient" often functions as a mirror to Western culture itself, or as a way of expressing its hidden or illicit aspects. In Gustave Flaubert's novel Salammbô ancient Carthage in North Africa is used as a foil to ancient Rome. Its culture is portrayed as morally corrupting and suffused with dangerously alluring eroticism.

A quick search of the æthyrweb images should reveal a wealth of Victorian era Orientalist artwork, and truly anyone who appreciates fine art would do well to look into this as the images and scenes depicted are quite lovely and very rich.

Well now that the history lesson is over, and please forgive the good captain for that little digression, I have something special to share! Artist James Ng has created some beautiful steampunk artwork with serious oriental influence. Yes, I know this is far from the Orientalism in the history lesson, and in fact has almost nothing in common with it at all, in truth these are depict a much more heavy Asian influence, but you still learned something new didn't you?

Splendid, then forgive the captain his stretching for a connection if you please, and feast your eyes on these ~

Steampunk Nightpatrol by James Ng Steampunk carriage by James Ng

Steampunk airship by James Ng

Despite the complete lack of "orientalist" connections, how often do you get to see steampunk imagery focusing more on Asian influences as opposed to purely Victorian or western? Exactly!

Hopefully you'll ponder how we can draw more Asian and Orientlist influences into our steampunk consciousness while you get back to work! Oh yes, Saturday, right. Well then...carry on!

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's time for the Circus - Victorian Style!

My dear deckhands have been working so diligently lately I felt it time to reward them, and you, with a trip to the circus to blow of some steam! Prepare yourselves for a little shore leave, and I suggest you bring your goggles with the magnifying lens attachments for this is no ordinary circus my friends, it's a Flea Circus!

To whet your appetite, feast your bio-occular orbs (with recommended magnification) upon these promotional posters!

victorian flea circus1victorian flea circus2
If you're as curious as the good captain, you'll certainly enjoy reading all about the training of fleas and their amazing abilities. Fortunately for you, Dark Roasted Blend has a wonderful article fascinatingly full of flea circus trivia - did you know a flea can pull 700 times is weight on legs thinner than a human hair? Well you do now good sirs & madams!

Read all about it here!

Additionally, Andy Clark has a blog entitled Flea Circus Research Library just brimming with more information of this most Victorian form of entertainment!

No need for work today my lovelies! Enjoy the day, marvel at the miniature feats performed before your eyes, and if you feel a small sting please refrain from scratching or slapping at might be the featured performer!

(posters by David Manuel)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dirigibles, Zepplins, and Other Airborn Conveyances

The good captain has been enjoying the most perfect weather this day, and looking out the window he can see many airship captains out doing the same. How can one blame them on the most beautiful day we've had so far this year! Indeed, this is a day to perambulate in the park, or sail above the clouds and enjoy the magnificent warm weather and cool breeze.

The good captain chose the latter this morning, and in addition to the weather I was treated to a great number and variety of airships whose splendor and majesty inspired me to share some of the beautiful vehicles with you all.

steampunk airship1 (by Lebbeus)

steampunk airship2 (unknown artist)

steampunk airship by alan gutierrezsteampunk foglio airship (Picture by Foglio)

Now while my lovely crew gets back to work, I'm off for the park with a certain lady friend. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Building the Æthyric Oscillator

I do apologize for the haste, but I'm in the middle of some precarious experiments that really should be occupying my full attention. Despite such little notions of "safety" I had to share this. It's a short film of a steam powered hammer that was used to construct parts of the new æthyric oscillator the good captain was testing out when he discovered Theme Planet.

Enjoy, but remember to keep your head and arms inside the Anomaly Obscura Engine at all times!

Steampunk Theme Park of Unusual Size

Considering the rather extended and unannounced leave of absence I, the good captain, took over this past weekend I rather expect my loyal crew and infatuated fans would like an explanation. After all, it is rather ungentlemanly to miss an engagement without word. Well my friends, it all started late last week...

I had taken the Anomaly Obscura Engine for a test run to see how the new æthyric oscillator would perform when I suddenly found myself in a long queue. Ever the curious and quixotic one, the good captain could not help but wait to see what the queue was there for. After several hours, the destination came into view: Theme Planet. Some enterprising engineer had developed an entire planet into the universe's largest amusement park!

So packed with steampunk wonders was this place, I became lost in its attractions and giddily wandered around absorbing as much as I could, and for that no one should cast the first stone at our beloved captain especially upon seeing this!

The T.P. Barricuda
steampunk train T.P.Barricuda - Theme Planet
There is no doubt you would have done the same in my boots. To back up this boast, I have even brought back some moving pictures of the place for you to lose yourself in. (Regrettably I could not bring back any of the rides for you to enjoy, as they were far to big to fit in the Anomaly Obscura Engine, but certainly you would have been thrilled and excited by the global steamcoaster!)

So without further ado or gilding the gears I present now to you - Bunny Animation, set in Theme Planet:

Theme Planet is the brainchild of Michael Sormann and a great load of details can be found at his site dedicated to the project. If you enjoyed the short or are interested in its production there is a lot of interesting information there. If not, I invite you to get back to work!