Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

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!


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