Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pocket Watches Galore! My pawn shop find of 2012

Gold-Filled 1913 Elgin pocket watch, movement

     Greetings, everyone! I recently had the luck of obtaining several pocket watches from a local pawn store. Someone I know works there, and I had asked him to tell me if they ever took in any pocket watches; one day, he let me know they had. Down to the store I went the next day that he was working (so he would get the credit for the sale, of course), 2011 holiday gift cash in hand and ready to buy, if the price was right. (What can I say, I do not often find things I really want to buy!)

     Yes, I went there thinking that there might be some tattered box of scruffy-looking watches missing vital parts with which I could do something artsy. Little did I suspect that there were this many watches, all in decent condition. Three of them could be wound and then actually ran! I bartered a little bit for the whole batch, albeit halfheartedly due to my delight at the possibility of getting so many pieces of history in one fell swoop.
      The deal seemed to be going well, but I had just fallen for one particular watch which was not allowed to be included in the batch price; I had my heart set on the running, 1913 gold-filled Elgin watch with beautifully etched hunting case, and felt as though I could not leave it for someone else to buy. It had simple engraved ornate flowers, scrolls, and leaves on the outside of the case, and it wound and ran. (I later discovered that it runs very slow, even with the speed adjusted, so that is something for me to learn how to remedy. It may need a cleaning, a new spring, both, or something else entirely.)But I was in full SQUEE! mode and would not be deterred by the downer that reason can be.
     I asked if that was the best they could do, which is the standard pawn-store lingo for "you gotta come down on the price before I will buy this item." The owner of the pawn shop reduced the price to about 1/3 of the price on the tag and I agreed, probably too quickly and a little too loudly, to buy the watch. (I remember shouting "sold!" across the small store); emotion had obviously taken over the deal, at least on my end. It seemed a reasonable price for a running, 1913, gold-filled Elgin pocket watch. It may or may not be the most valuable of the watches I purchased, but it is my favorite. It had been four YEARS since I had found any (reasonably priced) pocket watches at any pawn shop in the area, and I was determined that this would be the day that they would be mine.

pocket watches, (1913 Elgin in upper right corner)

     What did I get for my enthusiastic efforts? The gold 1913 Elgin and one other, a couple of Walthams, a George Draeb,  two Hamiltons, and a Republic. I have determined the approximate production date on a few of them as closely as is possible to determine from serial numbers, and have had fun learning about the history of the companies, and of markings and materials used back in the day. Two of the watches have engraved messages on the inside of the case which give a bit of insight into the proprieties of society back then.

same pocket watches, movements displayed (1913 Elgin in upper right corner)
     In my collection of watches, we find Silverdine, Silverode (nickel alloys), and gold-filled cases. Of course, just the movements themselves have me entranced. Warning: educational content --The often intricate and elaborate etching patterns that one sees on the watch movements is called "damaskeening."
     I took the photographs you see here at the instant that I arrived home, setting the watches on the bag from the pawn shop. At some point, I shall likely attempt to photograph them with an actual camera rather than a cellular phone camera.  How much did I pay for the entire lot of seven watches? The six totalled $150, then the 1913 Elgin was $75 plus tax. Did I get ripped off? Possibly. Occasionally, the thought of "but what will I DO with them?" pops into my mind. Then I remember that these pocket watches are one of those things that will never be made again: not in those places, at those times, by those people. Honestly, I have always wanted to learn more hands-on aspects of horology - the art or science of measuring time.

     By the way, most of these watches will  not be intentionally dismantled for parts. They may eventually be partially and cautiously dismantled for cleaning and repair; I hope to learn how to do some of it myself, as I do have some experience in taking them apart, and hope that reassembly will happen as well. I will be starting on the non-functioning watches, thank you very much! I hope to make up for my previous involvement in Watchmageddon by preserving these beautiful pieces of history, or at least trying to. They may serve no useful function in today's society with our digital timekeeping devices, and the value of any one of them has yet to be determined, but I like them all the same. Squee!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To See the World Through A Tiny Lens -- Stanhope Microphotograph Objects

     The Stanhope, or "optical bijou", was the name given to the items created with microphotographic images inside them.  Ranging from letter openers, to knives, to sewing tools such as tape measures, to jewelry, the Stanhope revolutionized the perception of photography and the souvenir industry beginning in 1860's France. About that time, Rene Dagron (1819-1900), a portrait maker in Paris created the first Stanhopes by affixing a micro-image to a lens.  From Stanhopes.info: "The Stanhope lens was invented by Charles, 3rd Earl Stanhope (1753-1816). It was a rod-shaped hand viewer with two surfaces of unequal curvature, but later the design was adapted to incorporate a curved magnifying surface at one end, and a plane surface at the other. Lord Stanhope died many years before his invention was used in the manufacture of novelty souvenirs."

     To use a Stanhope peep-hole viewer, one would put the tiny hole in the object up to one's eye while holding the object up to the light, and the image could be seen. Popular subjects included monuments, royalty (especially Queen Victoria!), world's fairs, cities, towns, shrines, and landscapes. Stanhopemicroworks.com has an extensive gallery of Stanhope objects.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Smells like Mad Science - and Jagers! Girl Genius Scents at ZOMG Smells

"Doctor's Bag" of vials at ZOMG Smells

     While I have known about the existence of ZOMGSmells for years, through their advertisements on the Girl Genius web site, it is so much fun that I needed to share what I found.

     The biggest attraction, for me, was their line of Girl Genius scents. Among the GG scent collection are: The Baron, Madboy, Pirate Queen, Jager #1, Jager #2, and Jager #3.  Gee, I wonder to whom they are referring, ha ha, but I sure hope Jagers smell better than they sometimes look! (BTW, I absolutely adore Jagermonsters, und hy know eet iz hard to schmell nize after heeting tings vit odder tings.  The scents sound delicious.  I mean, ferocious!

     Quack medicine cologne, anyone?  In addition to the GG scents, the ladies of ZOMG have created a collection of scents based on vintage patent medicine recipes, Dr. ZOMG's Cure-Alls.  Learn the history behind some of the potions, salves, tonics, and liniments that were hawked as cure-alls both on street corners and sold in pharmacies, some of which are still available today in slightly altered forms.  For example, Dr. Zomg's Superlative Polytonic Mirabalm is based on the recipe for Coca-Cola syrup, minus the cocaine, but with an additive to make the mixture tingle on the skin!

"Doctor Zomg's Cure-Alls do not actually cure all. They don't cure ANYTHING, other than not smelling nifty. But they *are* based on recipes for actual patent medicines, which likewise didn't cure anything. So we figure we're in good company there!"

Hmmm.... Who says shopping cannot be informative?

     I mentioned the Tesla scent in a previous post, and while thinking along those lines, why not try the Higgs-Boson scent? "We promised we'd make Higgs Boson available permanently when the particle itself was satisfactorily demonstrated to actually exist, and as of July 4, 2012, it looks like that's exactly what's happened. Here's to Dr. Peter Higgs, CERN, and the scientific method! Our toast: a blend simultaneously heavy and sprightly, with mace (for atom-smashing) and strong engineer tea over a rock-solid theoretical base, by which we mean patchouli, vetiver, and ATLAS cedar."

     If you are undecided or just want to try all of the scents in a particular collection, you can order a "squee set," which contains 1ml vials of the collection, or order a set of 5ml bottles. They sell dozens of more individual scents, all themed, as well as soaps with the aforementioned scents incorporated.

     The descriptions of the scents always make me salivate a little, which means they are describing it well! When I go to the site, it is about all I can do to not order one of everything. I would like to hear from you if you have ordered and/or experienced some of their scent formulations.  Eenjoy de schoppink!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Nikola Tesla!

     Since the steampunk community so often refers to the gentleman, I wanted to find out more about the esteemed Nikola Tesla besides information about the always-dramatic (and fun!) Tesla Coil.

     Tesla was born on the 10th of July, 1856 in Croatia. After working in Europe on telegraphs and loudspeaker technology until 1884, he moved to the United States to work with Thomas Edison on direct current generators. Tesla reworked Edison's design to make it more efficient, for which Edison refused to pay him the agreed-upon amount, and Tesla resigned from the company.
     In 1886, he started his own company in New York City, and invented many technologies that are familiar today, such as A/C current electricity, spark plugs (patented as "electric igniter"), and radio remote controlled vehicles.
      Tesla had an eidetic memory. "While a person with photographic memory will precisely recall visual information, a person with eidetic memory is not limited to merely visual recall – theoretically they can recall other aspects of the event including sensory information that is visual, auditory, tactile, gustatory, and olfactory, as well as other dimensions."(from Wikipedia)  He often would not draw his inventions much or at all before beginning construction; instead, he would visualize every aspect of them as needed throughout the process. The descriptions of his visions also seem to match how synesthetes describe their way of looking at the world.
    Other facts about Nikola Tesla: along with his native tongue he also spoke Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Latin; he liked animals, especially pigeons, which he fed every day; he developed extreme OCD early in life, a disease which at that time was seen as partial insanity; later in life, he became vegetarian for both ethical and medical reasons, eating only honey, bread and vegetables.
     In the 1890's, became friends with Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain). On an unrelated note, Tesla believed that his celibacy aided his scientific progress.  Despite his sacrifice, Tesla never won the Nobel Prize (he was nominated in 1915 along with Edison, and neither won, supposedly because of their bitter dispute over the superiority of alternating vs. direct current). Tesla held more than 278 patents when he died on 7 January 1943 at age 86 alone at the New Yorker Hotel, $20,000 in debt.

Some modern tributes to Tesla/things named for him:

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Nikola Tesla Award (an award given for an outstanding contribution to the generation or utilization of electric power.)
the rock band Tesla
Tesla Motors, which makes electric cars
a crater on the moon
an asteroid
a street corner in Manhattan
a USPS stamp in 1983
the Nikola Tesla Museum
ZOMG Scents Tesla cologne

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about this fascinating historical figure!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tempting Teas! $5 Off Adagio Tea Orders

Greetings, all!

    Let me just get this confession out of the way: I adore tea. Any kind, any origin.

     When I was diagnosed with a medical condition that prohibited me from drinking tea, I was devastated. Give up my morning cup? That will not do!  But I had to, or keep having some quite painful issues, so I wiped away the tears and threw away my beloved tea. That was several years ago.

     Recently, my frustration and longing for a nice cup of tea led me to Adagio Teas, and I browsed their site for hours.  I chose a few varieties that I thought might lend themselves to some experimentation, to see if there is just one kind of concoction that resembles tea that I can drink without repercussions.  I placed an order for several samples, and they sent me a discount code to give to others.

     So, if it is of interest, please use this code and get $5 off of an order from Adagio.  They have a good variety of teas, herbal and otherwise, and the sample portions go for between $2-9, so you can try out ones that interest you without breaking the budget!

     Yummy treat! Here is a $5 gift certificate to Adagio Teas: 7665144551. Expires in 24 hours.

Do enjoy!

P.S. from 6/14/12 - I have to say that I am impressed with the company. I placed my order two days ago, and am now drinking what I ordered! The tea samples arrived in sturdy, well-marked, resealable bags; each one is color coded, as well, for white tea, black tea, herbal, etc. On each package is the ideal brewing temperature and time.  Oh, and so far, the tea is delicious!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

For Sale: Gears and Singed Feathers Preserved in Two Miniature Resin-Filled Glass Bottles

Singed Feathers in Clear Glass Bottle

Feathers and Brass Watch Gear in Bottle

     Greetings, everyone!
      Due to one thing and another, I have not yet made these bottles into jewelry, so instead of tearing them apart and possibly ruining the pieces, I have decided to offer them for sale as curiosities. (I discovered how to make a relatively easy and functional hanging loop after I permanently affixed the corks into these bottles, and said technique must be done before adding the corks and before the resin hardens.)
      These bottles represent simple, first-time experiments with the materials, and should in no way be taken as the end-all of my feather/resin/bottle efforts.  As usual, I have come up with more a few more ideas, and must simply try them!

     (Want to know more about the materials I used? Read about other pieces which also utilized the Red Lory feathers (and tell more about the bird from whom they came) in this previous post.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Laundry, Mores, and Murder: Tales from Victorian London

    What better way to acquaint oneself with both the mundane and the extreme happenings of daily life in Victorian London, than by reading what actual Londoners wrote about it?

     I recently downloaded the free sample of Daily Life in Victorian London: An Extraordinary Anthology, compiled by Lee Jackson. As I began to read with a mostly open mind, I still found myself dismayed that I felt surprised at what shocked the people of that era. (Very conflicting emotions, there.)  Many of the sections are articles submitted to newspapers and other periodicals of the time period.  As the author comments, it is perhaps presumptuous to call this anthology "extraordinary," yet it certainly sheds light on the mores and idiosyncrasies of the day.

     Lee Jackson's truly informative web site, The Dictionary of Victorian London, led me to the book.  There you will also find sketches, photographs, and an encyclopedia of Victorian London divided by subject matter.  One could spend weeks reading through the material he has gathered there! Jackson has published many books on various topics regarding Victorian London.  Most can be had as a digital download for $2-3 apiece. His most recent book might possibly nod to the television show "Dirty Jobs": Dust, Mud, Soot and Soil: The Worst Jobs in Victorian London. Fascinating!  I recommend and will certainly read more by this preserver of Victorian history.

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Remnant" Part 3, Brutal from Birth

Scene from Penny Dreadful Productions' "Remnant, Brutal from Birth"

For those following the dramatic, costume-laden vignettes produced by Penny Dreadful Productions, 
the third installment is here!
(I viewed it a couple of weeks ago, but did not post about it, my apologies!)
Please read my original post on these movies.  There you will find the back story, as well as links to Penny Dreadful Productions and other related subjects, including photos that I took at Anachrocon 2012 of the actual actors and armor from the series.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Steam Powered Arm" - A Steampunk Kickstarter Project

     I occasionally check Kickstarter.com to see what new steampunk projects have requested funding; today, I found a project that caught my attention.  It is not a game, not a clothing company, not a book.  Shawn Skeel of Kalon Innovations has requested funding to create a steampunk prosthetic arm for his disabled friend.  Hm!

      To quote Kickstarter's site: "This project will only be funded if at least $500 is pledged by Thursday Jun 7, 12:50pm EDT." For those not familiar with Kickstarter, the person requesting money often offers rewards for certain levels of donations; for this project, donors may receive a leather "thank you" card, a small leather top hat, instructions on how to make your own "steam-powered" arm, or an actual "steam-powered" arm (the arm will be powered by a CO2 cartridge, not steam!).

     So, if you wish, take a look at the video of what the inventor has planned for the design. Though the project seems more theory than substance at this point, I hope it gets completed!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Forewarned is Forearmed! Steampunk Armor For Sale on Etsy

When you need innovative protection from your enemies (or unhappy friends!), look no further. I have found some most excellent sources for you to purchase fine leather and metal goods created by masterful craftsmen. Some are famous, some perhaps will be quite soon; all certainly have talent!

Dr. Grimmelore Superior Replacement Arm by Thomas Willeford (Lord Featherstone)/Brute Force Studios 

This is indeed the famous armor worn on ABC's "Castle" and also by Lady Clankington in the infamous steampunk poster. Things to know about this item: your order will be custom made in about six months, you can choose a theme, a leather, and a metal, and each arm weighs 10 pounds.

 Combat Tesla Armor Mk II by TheEdmondSteamworks

Things to know about this armor: made of copper, leather, and brass, much of which is bullet casings, and it is for a small or medium-sized person.

Deluxe Steampunk Wings, by Bionic Concepts 
If, gods of wind and cloud forbid, you should need to beat a hasty retreat, these large fantastic mechanized wings will aid your departure.  Things to know about the wings: powered by CO2 cartridges and 8 AA batteries, they have a six foot wingspan, and they are controlled by a hand-held control pad.

Deluxe Aether Fist Armor by Aetheranvil
Things to know about this item: the cuff is 16" by 6", the leather has been well-sealed with wax, and a 9v battery is included to power the disk. The maker also has a video of the disk functioning.

I hope you have enjoyed these selections of personal protection gear. Safety first!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mechanized Furniture That Makes You Think, "Hmmm..."

     I will admit that this post is not really about steampunk, though I really can see the Fletcher table being used on an airship or a submarine to save space. But, in my opinion, the design of these pieces of furniture embody the spirit of invention that transcends genre and celebrates imagination.
     Spoiler alert: All are real items except for the last, which, sadly, is a concept only. (As a fan of robotics, that disappointed me a bit. *sigh*)

Walking table

Dearden Expanding Glass Table

Fletcher Automated Capstan Expanding Table

 Personal Automated Library Chairs

Representation of a student graduate project at the Design Academy Eindhoven. Visitors can use a card to "check out" a seat, which will then follow them around the library for seating wherever needed. When the library visitor passes a designated line in the room near the checkout area, the chair returns to its' charging base to be ready for the next user.  Logistical nightmares aside (obedient chair traffic jams during busy library hours might occur), I think this idea has potential.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Cheers to You! Celebrating Beverage Day on May the 6th

     This weekend, lift your flask or cup and make a toast to whatever inspires you -- May 6th is Beverage Day!  Beverage Day is a delightful opportunity to kick back and relax with your favorite tasty beverage.

"Beverage Day should be a day of pleasure and relaxation.  Grab a bottle, can, a glass, or  a six-pack of your favorite beverage. Sit down in a comfortable chair... indoors or out. Slowly sip and savor your drink. ...Take advantage of Beverage Day to try a beverage that you have never had before."

     Tea your beverage of choice?  The Cup that Cheers has everything you could ever wish to know about tea, including over a dozen links to other blogs about tea.  They also have a section on how to create Victorian soft drinks, which includes recipes for Lemon Kali and Ginger Beer Powders.  That get your attention? I thought it might.

From The Cup that Cheers:

"Soft drinks, as we know them (i.e. soda, soda pop, cola, etc.) seem to have been invented in the early 19th century as a health drink; mineral waters had been touted as a healthy liquid for bathing in (the origin of spas), and were recommended health-giving beverages, as well. Some mineral water was naturally fizzy or carbonated, and the custom of making fruit-flavored or herb-flavored fizzy beverages began in imitation of these fizzy mineral waters. Recipes for these drinks, which could be compounded at home, rather than at the apothecary or druggist's shop, involved the combination of cream of tartar, baking soda, and water with sugar and flavorings. The prepared powders were often called "sherbet" or "kali", and were meant to be assembled in advance, and then mixed with cold water immediately before serving."  Yum!

     A history of the consumption habits of the era,"London's Light Refreshments," an article by George R. Sims, appeared in the periodical "Living London" in 1902. The author describes the places and the times Londoners sought out light refreshment in the bustling city, as well as what foods and drinks were popular.

"Londoners of all classes have frequently need of light refreshment, and as demand invariably creates supply, caterers are to be found in every quarter of the Metropolis who have made this special need their study."

So whether a cup of brown joy, a pint of bitter, or a touch of the Green Fairy strikes your fancy, do try enjoy it thoroughly on May 6th, Beverage Day!

Monday, April 30, 2012

How to Make Victorian May Day Flower Baskets

May Day Flower Cones by Over the Crescent Moon
     Many of the traditions associated with early May have ancient origins and span many countries, cultures, and religions; I discovered one that I found quite charming, and is said to have been embraced in the Victorian era: May Baskets.

     This tradition involved decorating some sort of small container, to which often would be added the flowers picked on one's morning stroll.  Then, the giver would leave the basket on a neighbor's doorstep, knock or ring, then run away.  If the recipient saw, pursued, and caught the basket giver, a kiss was to be exchanged. Aside from this possible result, giving a gift freely without expecting anything in return was the true intent of this practice, as well as celebrating the arrival of Spring!

     Though I have not given you much notice, dear readers, if you would like to read more about how one person created May baskets for mere pennies using cone hats, Victorian pattern paper, and lace, then head on over to the post on Over the Crescent Moon.

     For a description of how the Victorians observed May Day traditions, The Cup That Cheers has created a lovely post on the subject. Dances, May poles, hobby horses, feasts, and much more filled the day with glorious merrymaking.

     No matter what (if any) celebrations you have planned, do take time to smell the flowers.  Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"Dishonored" - Steampunk First-Person Shooter

Screenshot from "Dishonored"
      Coming in 2012 to PC, Xbox360 and PS3, Dishonored provides a way to immerse oneself in an alternative world where technology is used by the ruling class to repress and obliterate those who would threaten their power - or their survival.
     In the game, your character is Corvo, bodyguard to the murdered Empress. Held responsible for her death, Corvo must escape prison and put right the demented order in the rat-plagued Victorianesque city of Dunwall.

For more details about gameplay and such, this article on Forbes.com describes it admirably. This game does seem a decent way to get stunning visuals and plenty of action, without getting one's vest or bustle greasy.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Free Steampunk Sewing Tutorial Videos from Lastwear

     If you desire to learn some fancy stitching or want to see what "Dress for the Apocalypse" entails, Lastwear can help you out.  They currently have an under-bust vest, a pair of cargo steeplejacks, and a Pinkerton vest for sale on their site.
     One of my readers (thanks, Rhissana!) let me know that the company had decided to no longer offer free patterns for their garments; at least when I checked today, the videos on particular sewing techniques are still accessible. Just scroll down on their site, past the pattern section.

How to sew Flat Cap, Welt Pocket, Flat Felled and French Seams:
Sewing Tutorial Videos


(Edit: I changed this post by removing reference to Lastwear's open source clothing/pattern business model, as they decided that they were losing money by offering their patterns for free. (People often made the garments to sell, rather than for personal use, as well.) I thought I had discovered a good place for steampunk sewing ideas; I will add links to other sites if I find more in the future.)  Have a favorite steampunk sewing site?  Leave a comment with a link! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Splendid Steam Sculpture: The Infernal Device

In 2011, I had heard a bit about the sculpture called "The Infernal Device."  After reading information from several sources, I found out that an incredible amount of work (and tears) went into the creation of this massive steampunk-inspired piece.

Sketch of the Infernal Device's many parts

The sculpture was an entry in the 2011 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the largest open-entry fine art competition in the country.  ArtPrize includes thousands of entries each year, scattered throughout the city.  It did not win, but had many admirers, as seen in this photo gallery containing hundreds of pictures of the process, the parts, construction, and more.

The Infernal Device at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum 2011

"The Infernal Device is a large mechanical animated sculpture being built by steampunk/retrofuturist artist Myke Amend, Nan and David Braun of Cogbots, and steam-machine modeler Todd Cahill as a collaborative entry for Artprize (the country’s largest open entry art competition, 
held in Grand Rapids MI).  Our intent is to build a dynamic sculpture using 90% Vintage, Re-purposed materials that will be powered entirely by alternative energy sources (wind, solar, steam)."

Video of Infernal Device Collaborator Todd Cahill and some of his other work, including steam engines.

You may read about some of the challenges that the team faced and apparently overcame, as posted over the months on their Kickstarter page.  I am glad that the sculpture was finished, even if it did not win that particular competition; perhaps it will make an appearance at steampunk venues in the future.

(Seen this work of art in person, or know where it might be seen in the future? Please leave a comment and let me know.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kinekt Patented Moving Gear Ring

This high-quality stainless steel ring is for sale at Kinektdesign.com with a lifetime warranty  for a mere $165, and here is what they have to say about it:
"The patented Gear Ring is made from high quality matte stainless steel. It features micro-precision gears that turn in unison when the outer rims are spun (as can be seen in the video)."

Two words.  Absolutely. Squee.

You may read a review of this ring on The Gadgeteer.  This bloke did a video of his new ring, from un-boxing to lots of gratuitous rotating of the parts.

That is all!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Steampunk Automated Wine Bottle Corkscrew by Rob Higgs

Steampunk Wine Uncorker/Pouring Machine by Rob Higgs

Sculptor and maker Rob Higgs, has built a very complex contraption which, when wound up sufficiently, will uncork a bottle of wine and pour you a glass without spilling a drop.  The design has Victorian and steampunk influences throughout, and I want one, even though I have no place to put it!

It is 65" tall, weighs 771 pounds, and was inspired by the eccentric machine drawings of English illustrator W. Heath Robinson.

The uncorking process, demonstrated and explained:

An interview with the designer, and footage of the machine being constructed and then functioning:

If you are interested in owning one of these devices, you may contact corkscrew@bullworks.net for pricing and further info.  The price? Six figures, in USD.   Bulletworks.net has a page dedicated to the devices.  Cheers!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stunning Spats for Summer!

Since the weather in the northern hemisphere has become unseasonably warm very quickly this year, I for one do not relish wearing tall boots.  The fashionable answer to this predicament is spatterdashes, also known as "spats".  This piece of clothing has military origins in the 19th century.  To read more about the history of spats, please read the Wikipedia article here.

Here are a few examples of spats that I found reasonably priced, and attractive for a steampunk outfit. (I focused on spats for women; men's spats are usually readily available, but appropriate and well-made designs for the steampunk female foot are not as easy to find!)

Black Leather Spats by VampireOodles on Etsy

Brown cotton and copper spats

Woolen Lace-Up spats by Monjiocreations on Etsy

Black Leather and Cloth Spats by Eidol on Etsy

Also, TotusMel makes some lovely tatted ankle corsets, which can be worn with dressier shoes.

Tatted Lace Ankle Corsets by TotusMel

If you prefer to try to make some spats yourself, WikiHow has an article on ... you guessed it - how to do it!

I hope this information points you in the direction of a few options to spruce up your gams without overheating your feet!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mechanical Owl Sculptures - Mechowlies!

Mechowlie by Kimberly Hart, from Etsy

These are so cute, I had to share news of their existence. They are for sale on Etsy, at about $100 each.  Here is what the artist says about them:

"All of my MechOwlies have very pronounced details, such as big round eyes, lil' beak, tucked-back wings, and little itty bitty details that make each one special! They are very unique creatures, and none of them are exactly the same.
They look like metal, don't they? Actually, the entire thing is handsculpted from polymer clay and finished with mica powders for an awesome metallic effect. Every little detail is done by hand, such as the many rivets and panels that you see. He can have coloured eyes, gears and watch innards, wind-up watch mechanisms, touches of gold and silver, and all sorts of other details as well."

She also sells mech birds and mech tentacles.  View her work on DeviantArt.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring SALE - 10% off everything in DreamSteam's ArtFire shop, plus an extra 5% off for my readers

Though spring came to my area many weeks ago, I saw the first hummingbird of the year at my feeders this morning!  As per my yearly tradition, this means that in celebration of the little birds' arrival, everything in my ArtFire studio is now 10% off.  Many items were already further discounted. I hope to see more birds here soon, and also hope some of my jewelry finds a home!

To thank you for reading my blog, if you use the code EXTRA5 when checking out, you will receive an extra 5% off of your order, for a total of 15% off.   Thank you!

Visit DreamSteam's Studio
SAVE 5% Off Select Studio Items
Use Coupon Code:
during checkout.

Time After Time -- Steampunk-Inspired Clocks

Clock by rasslinmiss Erin Keck

Some fairly nifty clocks with a steampunk influence or origin.

Mesmerometer by Ken Patton

Steampunk ClockOS

Steampunk Clock by Dmitriy Khristenko

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Antiqued Silver Steampunk Watch Gear Ring

Gear Ring by DreamSteam, for sale on ArtFire

Finally, I completed a resin ring and posted it for sale in my studio!

I  found some really nice Victorian-esque and even some papers with a more dieselpunk aura to work with for my resin projects; this ring features one pattern/color that I like.  It has greens and browns (I added the rusty browns via a distressing method I use) swirled in chaotic harmony. The band is a minimum of a size 8, and can be adjusted to larger sizes.  I may be able to adjust the size downward, but it would take some careful cutting and bending, which I am willing to do upon request once the item is purchased.

The other ring that I made did not turn out to my satisfaction, so I will try again.  It had two beautiful red Lory feathers and a superb brass watch gear with a watch ruby in the center. 
gear and feather ring by DreamSteam, later dismantled
  Before anyone cries foul (fowl?), the feathers were given to me upon request by a friend who has a red Lory in the house; he collected the feathers from the bottom of the cage, as the bird molts tiny feathers prolifically.  Here is a photo of a red Lory, to give you an idea of how gorgeous the plumage is.

red Lory bird

 My other project worked splendidly.  Two tiny corked glass bottles with fanned feathers and resin inside (they have some other unique features as well, but I shall keep those details secret for now).  Once I get the wire wrapped around the bottle necks so that they can be hung as pendants on a necklace or two, those will be posted for sale, as well.  Let's hope for success!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Steampunk Airship Name Generator

Yar! Need a name with which to christen your mostly-airworthy vessel before her maiden voyage? 

Roguey's Site Ship Namer will generate one for you at random, so as to not offend one's own... acquaintances... who might want you to name it after them.

Fancy a more pirate name for the ship?  Try:  The Seventh Sanctum Pirate Ship Name Generator, which will provide up to 25 names at once.  Names there are guaranteed to be raunchy, confusing, and/or gritty! Yo ho! (No guarantees actually made, it's just a figure of speech.)  Here are some it created for me:

Ocean's Raider
The Disgraceful Killer
The Anger of the Knave
The Black Secret of Tortuga
The Death of the Ocean
The Deceit of Tortuga
The Deceit of the Ocean
The Evil Rage
The Foul Thunder
The Shameful Killer of the East

 Fair winds and smooth sailing to ye, no matter what yer ship be named!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Steampunk Tales from Anachrocon, Part II -- Remnant, a steampunk film by Penny Dreadful Productions

Joe Hernandez as Remnant trooper at Anachrocon 2012
      I had the fortune of meeting the bechainsawed gentleman in the above picture at Anachrocon 2012. (Yes, I made up a word, bechainsawed.)  At that time, I was so overwhelmed with all of the wonders of the day that I did not even ask his name (I apologize profusely, sir!), but under all the excellent armor is Joe Hernandez, actor and workshop manager for Penny Dreadful Productions of Duluth, GA, USA.  Here he strikes an in-character pose from his part in the studio's most recent offering, Remnant.  (He held this maniacal grin and this pose patiently for a very long time as I tried to get both him and his weapon in-frame.  Thanks, Joe!)
     Remnant is the tale of life and death after the collapse of civilization as the world once knew it.  Various groups try to enforce their own visions of how things should be, and many suffer the consequences of these power struggles even as they try to rebuild their lives. "Some want control. Some want freedom. It's time to choose a side."

    If you wish to read the story, you might begin with Drone: A Prelude Part 1.  I found the writing detailed and vivid; it made me want to go and fight, but I would first have to choose a side....  You may read the other short stories by clicking on the posters at the bottom of the main Remnant page.  If you would like a complete explanation of the Remnant story and everything in it, Amy Houser, illustrator of the propoganda posters for the film, has written just that, posted on overburyink.com; she tells the "why" of Remnant, as well as the plans for its' future.

                                  What is Remnant?
"The future is fire and ashes, corruption and decay. The Great War ended in smoke and ruin, and the world as we knew it can be glimpsed under the blackened piles of rubble and in the colossal hulks of buildings long burnt and razed. The fighting continues, though: organized Rebels and rogue pirates in patchwork airships form savage raiding parties with the sole aim of tearing down any progress made to reclaim order and prosperity. The Rebels prefer chaos, but the world needs stability. People need a future that is clean and bright. They need answers. Remnant is that answer."

Part 1 --  Remnant: A Call to Arms
"Scouts located a settlement of free people thirty hectomarks outside Remnant City. A Warden has been dispatched to encourage the groups allegiance. Dreadnoughts have the building surrounded.
“A Call to Arms,” is the first of five Remnant short films created as a collaborative effort between Penny Dreadful Productions, Brothers Young Productions, and an extensive network of amazing creative talent. Stay tuned, the Battle is coming."

     Remnant originated as a extraordinary story to display the costuming and making skills of the artists; PDP accepts orders for costumes from the film (six character types and 23 fashions) both at cons and on their web site.  They will also provide zombies for your events and special occasions.  One could order some of both and have some post-apocalyptic fun!  In the meantime, enjoy the story.  Future installments of the story should appear on PDP's YouTube page and/or linked on their Facebook page.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The World's First Steampunk Bedtime Story ... Steamduck, in "Her Majesty's Explorer"


This adorable little guy is a part of a brand new bedtime story.  A steampunk one!

A synopsis from Amazon.com:
 "Her Majesty's Explorer: a Steampunk bedtime story.
St.John Murphy Alexander walks the world exploring for the Queen. He sees the most extraordinary landscapes, creatures and weather. He gets very, VERY dirty. Exhausted, he returns to H.Q. and gets ready for a well deserved rest and some sweet dreams. This gentle book, written by Steampunk novelist Emilie P. Bush and brilliantly illustrated by William Kevin Petty, is the perfect wind-down for your little adventurer. "

The book is in the top 100 of the children's books category on Amazon right now.  I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Petty, the illustrator, at Anachrocon 2012, and got to peruse a copy of the book before it was released to the public.  He even gave me an adorable little Steamduck sticker, which unfortunately got lost as the day wore on. (I was very sad that I dropped it somewhere, as that was my favorite item from the whole event.  *sigh*)

A video with many of the book's illustrations:

An Interview with author Emilie P. Bush and Illustrator William Kevin Petty as they discuss their new children's book Her Majesty's Explorer: A Steampunk bedtime story:

The home of Coal City Steam - author Emilie Bush's blog.

Steamduck's Baby Photo
And here is a teaser for the book, read by Captain Robert of Abney Park.

Book available on Amazon.com, in both print ($11.95) and Kindle ($3.00) formats.

If you would like to follow the book's progress, you may wish to view the Steamduck Facebook page.

"About the Author: Journalist and writer Emilie P. Bush has written two novels. Her first, Chenda and the Airship Brofman, was a "ripping good yarn!" and the tale was a 2010 Semi-finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The Gospel According to Verdu picks up the epic tale where Chenda left off - high in the skies. Emilie P. Bush lives, laughs and writes with her family in Atlanta.

About the Illustrator: William Kevin Petty is the founder of Allied Aethernautics, LTD., a Steampunk illustration company and specializes in exceptionally detailed pencil sketches and acrylic paintings. His work has appeared in Steampunk Magazine and across the web. Capt. Petty, when he is not deployed with the U.S. Army, lives and draws in central Louisiana." -- From  The Artifice Club 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Got Ink? Steampunk Tattoo Designs, Part 2

Steam Swallow by Tattoos and Doodles

      Since the single post regarding steampunk tattooos is the single most viewed post of all time on my entire web site, I decided to bring you more ideas and share some photos of steampunk/biomechanical tattoos that I really like.
     The designs labeled with the artist "Tattoos and Doodles" may be used under the Creative Commons license, that is, it may be shared and modified as long as you correctly attribute credit to the author/artist, and as long as you share your own derived work under the same terms.
     So yes, you can have those four designs tattooed on your body, legally.  Enjoy.

Steamoboros dragon tattoo design from Tattoos and Doodles

Another gear tattoo from Tattooos and Doodles

Gear tattoo from Tattoos and Doodles

Now for some tattoos that simply came from the web. As usual, the origins of the photos are often not given. (If you know who did the designs/inking in an unlabeled photo, please let me know by leaving a comment.)

Shoulder tattoo by Stefano Alcantara

by Russ Abbott of Ink and Dagger Studio, Decatur GA USA

by Russ Abbott

by Russ Abbott

by Russ Abbott

Possibilities... from tat-designs.com

I hope that these have offered some inspiration. Want more ideas?  Tat-designs.com has a dozen more steampunk tat design ideas.

 If I can find the design I want and figure out where to have it done (where on me and what establishment/artist can do it properly), I will probably end up with another tattoo; this time it will be steampunk.


Related Posts with Thumbnails