Monday, April 20, 2009

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:


Patrick Skahill, Spaceman said...

Wow, that wristwatch route finder is a must have!
I can't tell you how annoying it is when my GPS batteries die or the unit refuses to pick up a satellite connection.
Let's just cut out the middle man here.
I say do away with all the complicated geo-synchronous uplinking or whatever. Forget recharging the device in my car!
All I need is a big box o' mini maps, a leather strap, and my spectacles.
Outstanding invention!

Renquist Von Reik said...

Indeed, these maps have the distinct advantage of not requiring power to be legible, let alone requiring a satellite link!

I fear we've taken the wrong path with such technologies, particularly saddening after the Victorians provided such a perfect map for us to follow! (Pun regrettably intended)