Thursday, May 14, 2009

Proper Automobile Design

I had just finished ogling the magnificence of the most impressive Steam Runabout from the Neverwas Haul shown yesterday when I saw this steampunk contraption go racing past my window. Without delay I cranked up the Anomaly Obscura Engine and gave chase, finally catching up with the most stunning steampunk automobile I have ever laid my eyes upon!

Named the Cummins Steampunk RatRod and created by Swanee3, a Deviant Artist is ever there was one, this is the new bar to which all other autos will be measured, and once you see the image of it I'm sure you'll not only be jealous of the lucky owner, but also agree that the bar has been raised quite high. So high in fact, I'm not sure anything but a airship will be able to pass over it!

Please, follow the below æthyric link and prepare your eyes for what awaits! Warning - you might want to put your goggles on first!

Cummins Steampunk RatRod

As a note, I generally prefer to show the images to my lovely crew directly, but in this instance the artist requested that no one do so without express written permission and despite the decidedly piratical streak the good captain harbors, the incredible beauty of this simply forces me to abide by their wishes. In all honesty, it is worth the time to investigate. In fact, I so believe this to be true I will even give you the rest of the day off so you cannot use work as your excuse for having no time to do so! I know, I know, record this day in your calendars as it does not happen often!

Are you still here? Go already, for steam's sake!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Burning Man Steampunkery

I regret to say, the good captain has not been having the best of days today. A bit under the weather to begin with, and with fortune apparently distracted by other pursuits, I realized early on that things would simply not be going my way today. Harumph, I say!

How better to bring some whimsical and creative cheer to myself than search through the æthyr for inspiring images of the steampunk kind from the wholly inspired Burning Man festival! These pictures help reignite the missing spark and put a little fire back in my boiler.

This is the Kinetic Steam Works Case Traction Engine Hortense, not only a beautiful machine but also a beautiful image of it running full steam!
Case Traction Engine
Next we have a most unusual contraption from the Department of Spontaneous Combustion, where incidentally the good captain interned shortly after his apprenticeship to Prof. Cogsburn back in the good old days of his youth.
Department of Spontaneous Combustion - strange contraption
Here is a picture of the legendary Neverwas Haul, perhaps the most beautiful picture I've seen of this incredible one of kind never to be repeated wonder!
Neverwas Haul
And last but not least, the Steam Runabout of the Neverwas Haul, for when you just need to make a quick trip into town and don't want to bring the entire crew with you. Ah, how I can relate to the need for one of these, let me tell you!
steam runabout
(all images by Tristan Savatier of, in case you can't read watermarks without your goggles!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

They Just Don't Make Harmonic Analyzers Like That Anymore

Waking this morning, the good captain noted his lack of an accurate means of measuring atmospheric temperatures and pressure, vital information for even the most lacksidasical sky pirate, and so turning the Anomaly Obscura Engine to the past I set forth into the æthyr in search of the one man, nay, the one legend whose mechanical mastery could solve this problem I was suffering once and for all. The man, nay, legend is of course none other than William Thomson, Lord Kelvin!

It was a crisp May morning, 1878 when I arrived at the Meteorological Offices in merry old England just in time to see the unveiling of Lord Kelvin's Harmonic Analyzer. A machine of such simple perfection and stunning beauty I had already reserved a spot for it in my personal bedchambers so that I might start the day with an accuracy of forecasting sadly lacking. I would try to describe it myself, but the most eloquent scientist and wordsmith Sir William Thomson, F.R.S., Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Glasgow, has already done a wonderful job, circa May 9, 1878, so I'll let his words paint the picture:
It consists of five disk globe and cylinder integrators of the kind described in Professor James Thomson’s paper “On an Integrating Machine having a new Kinematic Principle,” of the same date, and represented in the annexed woodcuts.

The five disks are all in one plane, and their centres in one line. The axes of the cylinders are all in a line parallel to it. The diameters of the five cylinders are all equal, so are those of the globes; hence the centres of the globes are in a line parallel to the line of the centres of the disks, and to the line of the axes of the cylinders.

One long wooden rod, properly supported and guided, and worked by a rack and pinion, carries five forks to move the five globes and a pointer to trace the curve on the paper cylinder. The shaft of the paper cylinder carries at its two ends cranks at right angles to one another; and a toothed wheel which turns a parallel shaft, and a third shaft in line with the first, by means of three other toothed wheels. This third shaft carries at its two ends two cranks at right angles to one another.

Another toothed wheel on the shaft of the paper drum turns another parallel shaft, which, by a slightly oblique toothed wheel working on a crown wheel with slightly oblique teeth, turns one of the five disks uniformly (supposing to avoid circumlocution the paper drum to be turning uniformly). The cylinder of the integrator, of which this one is the disk, gives the continuously growing value of ∫ydx.

Alright, so maybe not so eloquent as simply sharing an image or two of the device and letting them speak for themselves:

Stunning no? Simply put, things spin and rotate and the end result is, well I'm not entirely certain...yet! Now that it's safely aboard the Anomaly Obscura Engine I'll have ample opportunity to figure out exactly what it does in relation to the atmosphere and eventually, I assume, it will provide the information I'm looking for. If not, I understand it can also create deep and rich percussion to rival even the drummers of the Ivory Coast! Something the good captain appreciate especially when rum is involved.

Now why don't you be a good chap and tottle back off to work, the drums will let you know when it's time to break...either that or it will rain in 20 minutes. I'm not exactly sure which.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Steampunk Subway Station - How Appropriate!

The good captain decided to celebrate the most important woman in his life on her special day with a trip to France yesterday. The trip was lovely but upon arriving we were informed that there were restrictions in place on private vehicles with the intention of keeping traffic and congestion to a minimum. I tried explaining the complex nature of the Anomaly Obscura Engine to them so as to help them understand it was scientifically impossible for this to contribute to such inconveniences in any way, but chicanery does not seem overly effective when the target does not understand you.

Alas, we were forced to take the subway but in hindsight this turned out to be quite the lucky turn of events, as had we not we'd never have discovered the Arts et Metiers station! This incredible subway station is a masterful work of steampunk architecture and engineering, complete with Nautilus inspired portholes in the walls revealing more steampunkenalia and giant gears embedded in the ceiling! I had to pull down my goggles for fear that such a wonder would surely damage my eyes as if looking directly into the sun! It was simply marvelous, and truly added that special ambiance that a special day necessitates. Feast your eyes upon these images and lament the lack of such inspired steampunkery in your area, as the good captain does his.

Much credit must be given to whatever governmental agency approved these plans, for their courageous decision to boldly state they will refuse fear of times that never were, and instead embrace them, revel in them even, in such a proud public display! May this trend continue in all countries and corners of the globe and when it does, we can look back fondly at Mother's Day in aught nine and the Arts et Metiers station as the place which took the first brave step!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Steampunk Light Looks Better!

The good captain ran into a small issue last night. Working late in the workshop I was greatly disparaged by the poor lighting I never realized I had, or rather didn't have. The later the clock chimed the worse and worse it became, until finally I was forced to give up as my eyes were becoming quite tired straining to interpret the Egyptian hieroglyphics spelling out the ancient mathematical equations I was hoping would allow me to further refine the æthyric converter in the Anomaly Obscura Engine.

This morning, waking up with more than enough headache for three people (or two South Pacific Islanders) I decided it was time to enhance the lighting in the workshop at long last. Firing up the Anomaly Obscura Engine sans Egyptian upgrades, I set a course for the best steampunk lighting I could find. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you view the glass, I found a great many options out there! Now the good captain has brought back quite a few lamps and lights to see which look best in the workshop and will solve the poor lighting I never knew I was plagued with.

Here's my favorites of the steampunk lamps, of which I simply cannot decide which shall occupy a new home in my home ~

steampunk lamp by Michael Pusateri
This first lamp could be a perfect fit. Made from an old cigar box by Michael Pusateri, I am quite drawn to it's simplicity while creating a lovely ambience, both from the twin 60 watt bulbs and from it's simply steampunk style. Also, that power switch looks very enticing to twist... I'm afraid I might enjoy it too much!

steampunk lamp by Professor Fzz
This pipe lamp is next on my list. Created by Professor Fzz it reminds me of a steam engine water level tube complete with appropriate power switch. Again I favor the simplicity of the design and the obvious light it will provide, but there is a nagging doubt about accidental burns or it's stability. In other words, the workshop can become quite rowdy at times and I'm not sure this is able to withstand the fantastic forces the good captain and his associates release during their experiments, especially when whiskey is involved.

steampunk lamp by Art Donovan
This lamp is truly a work of art, created by Mr. Jos De Vink of the Netherlands* and named the V4 Engine NR15 04, I understand it can generate up to 65 horsepower and reach a top speed of 70 mph. Unfortunately it's two tea light candles don't appear to give off much light, and the spinning wheel is certainly a risk to objects that might venture too close.

While I try to decide which lamp will take a spot of honor in my workshop, the spot in the center of my drafting table most in need of light of course, I think I will take my new steampunk segway for a spin. A proper gentleman's alternative to the actual Segway, this "Legway" is much more elegant and repeated use will not only find you in better health but also give you the calves and thighs proper ladies cannot admit they fancy, though the good captain knows they secretly do.

No, I'll not be providing these for all the crew. There's only so much room for perfectly sculpted masculine legs, but there is plenty of room for work so I suggest you get to it! Oh, and enjoy your week's end, would you. There's a good bean.

*(Cheers to Art Donovan for correcting a most unfortunate error in the attribution of this lovely Sterling Engine/Light! I am in your debt, kind Sir)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lovely Ladies of Steampunk and More!

For the last month it has been overcast and rainy on a daily basis in the good captain's neck of the woods. Ok, perhaps not a month but it's true I've not seen the sun for two weeks, and the forecast does not include the sun for at least another week or thereabouts. Normally I am not dismayed by rain and clouds, in fact I very much appreciate them especially from above. Today however, I was in search of the kind of adventure that would bring a ray of light into the otherwise bleak landscape I've seen oh so much of lately.

With this goal in mind the good captain ordered all hands on deck and spun up the Anomaly Obscura Engine, setting random coordinates in the æthyr. Well, truly Fortune herself does love me for this is what she laid upon my gangplank, the incredible works of Matt Frederick.
Sky Pirate 1 - steampunk portrait by Matt FrederickCrowbar - steampunk portrait by Matt Frederick
To the right is a lovely image called Crowbar, for what should be obvious reasons to my intelligent crew. Gorgeous! I do love a girl in goggles, especially one who knows how to wield blunt objects!

To the right is Sky Pirate 1. Beautiful image and of course, the Piratess could pillage my booty for as long as she likes. However, the good captain does believe a fair amount of fantasy has been injected into this image, as every sky pirate I've encountered has not been half as attractive as this lovely lass. Not half...

The final picture I would like to share is my personal favorite. Simply titled Steampunk, it invokes images of the Nautilus and steampunk adventures under the sea with a stunning first mate. Well, I'm not sure if she's really first mate but she could be on my ship. That offer will remain open indefinitely should anyone wish to pass that on to her. I would be much obliged.

Steampunk - steampunk portrait by Matt Frederick The final steampunk sharing I have for today comes courtesy of Dr. Grymm! His wonderful blog, Behind the Steam, provides lovely insights into the goings on behind the scene (aha! I get it now!) at the Steam Gear Labs and just today he posted about a fantastic show he and his compatriots were a part of, a gallery of steampunk goods, arts, and artifacts on display for all to come see and enjoy. The gallery show was entitled "The Steampunk Bizarre" and sadly the good captain could not see it in person, as I was on a birthday pilgrimage at the time, but Dr. Grymm was so generous as to provide a movie showcasing many if not all of the stunning works shown there!

Please do enjoy

Incidentally, most of the creations seen in the video are for sale. Anyone seeking more information should inquire at

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Captain has Returned!

So it has been a few days since I last shared any steampunk wonders with you, and for that I am sincerely sorry, but I do have a good reason. You see, Cinco de Mayo is a very special holiday in the good captain's heart for something other than the defeat of the French army by the Mexican general Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin in 1862 at Puebla. It was on this day, not too long after the events for which the day is generally recognized, that commemorates the birth of our beloved Captain Renquist von Riek!

Yes my friends and loyal crew, the fifth of May is my birthday! And while I may be famous in some circles for my near superhuman ability to idle leisurely about, I assure you I'm no layabout on my birthday. It was a nearly weeklong celebration of all things captain, which as you can surely imagine meant quite a bit of work and certainly a healthy dose of adventure!

Interesting Trivia Did you Know - The "Most Interesting Man in the World" advertising campaign by Dos Equis beer is based upon the good captain and his amazing adventures. It's true!

For the last few days some faithful companions and I have been driving across the very heart of the new world in my new carriage, gifted to me by a lovely lady admirer. I have no doubt that upon seeing said carriage you will fully appreciate the need for a road trip, especially in light of the occasion! The engine actually hides beneath the carriage and the gyroscopic stabilizers ensure that you will not flip over when trying to corner at unsafe speeds, which we tested extensively at extremely unsafe speeds!

Ultimately the destination we were heading for was to witness a large scale wonder, the Corliss Steam Engine, in it's full glory! This engine weighs in at 700 tons, 1400-1600 horse power, and generates enough energy to power all the exhibits at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876 which means it could provide nearly a full half of the power required at my workshop.

Truly a thing of beauty is it not? The good captain holds a deep appreciation for any engine of such a size that several dozen fine gentlemen can stand upon it at a single time. Much more impressive than those engines that can only hold one fine gentlemen at a time, am I not right! Ha Ha good chaps, indeed!

Well, sadly I must go nurse a traveling companion I've not seen for a very long time, a hangover. Usually we only get together for Easter, but a four day road trip to see one of the largest steam engines necessarily requires a simply gratuitous amount of spirits. While I tend to that, you should be tending your workload, now back to those gears!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Tale of Brave Ulysesbot

I was terribly bored the other night after spending the entire day in a library researching obscure mathematical equations from the ancient Egyptians and decided that some Mexican ambiance, marguerritas, and of course enchiladas in a small cantina would be a lovely finale to the day. Being the magnet for adventure it was no surprise then, that Pancho Villa himself should walk in with his posse! I've known Pancho for a long time, but one of his companions was new to me. Heading over to the bar I ordered a round of drinks for my friends and proceeded to reminisce of old times with Pancho, easing into some questions about his new associate.

I was told his name was Ulysesbot, and he was a master marksman. Designed in Germany and built in America, he had served in the trenches of the great war and earned honors and distinction for the time served. Upon heading to Mexico he quickly fell in with Pancho's band after the defense of the Madre de Dios Monstery, running with them since then.

After a few more marguerritas the old bean even let slip that for as good a shot as Ulysesbot is, he has a glass jaw and doesn't take criticism well. A shame that, but often the case with the strong silent types.

Update - Since the above picture was taken apparently Ulysesbot left to gang and moved to Paris to take up a lucrative job as a steam engine. Regrettably, after so much war and fighting Ulysesbot just could not make the adjustment to civilian life, and proceeded to attack a train station it had perceived as slighting it, audaciously insisting Ulysesbot wait for another train to pull out of the station before he himself pulled in. The resulting brawl was truly epic, and sadly Ulysesbot was not to be the victor this day.

Let us all remove our hats and bow our heads for a moment, in memorial to the brave Ulysesbot. A noble automaton with a heart of steampunk power that no man nor train station could contain, and would eventually bring an untimely end to this mechanical man of heroic proportions!