noun: steam-punk

a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.

In my  extensive research in to streampunk, I have come to believe that steampunk started as fixtures of necessity, lights and other devices made from scavenged and found parts. They were first made by persons with a non-standard number of teeth and a look in their eyes that makes you glad you left your spouse and children at home.


A steampunk light from the (Bill) Clinton era.

When the culturally aware discovered steampunk, its creation became the domain of MFA’s  named Joshua or Séan/Shawn/Shaun/Chon/DeSean. They have scruffy facial hair and man buns and eyes with a vacant intensity not seen in mere mortals. Five years ago they had dreadlocks, now it’s mostly man buns. And Keens, they all wear Keens.


Keens – Official shoes of MFA’s.

The increased popularity of steampunk created an opportunity for steampunk parts makers. On/off switches that look like a shut of valve for instance.


A commercial on/off switch.

This is an improvement. Traditionally, switches were made with an old gate valve, a penny and the foil wrapper of two sticks of Beemans Pepsin Gum. (Not true. Beemans Pepsin Gum didn’t have foil wrappers. It had waxed paper wrappers. Makers used the foil from Juicy Fruit Gum.)


Steampunk is more than just lights. No braces were harmed in the manufacture of this beer carrier.


All varieties of steampunk.


Sometimes multiples are made.

But Now It’s Gone Commercial

You can now get your steampunk fix at mall furniture stores. It’s come to that. Killing time, I wandered into a mall furniture store and saw this:


You don’t see this in Architectural Digest. Looks like they left some parts off.

And this:


Chain drive steampunk.

But this really bothered me:


Real steampunk doesn’t have labels.

There is an implied risk in owning authentic steam punk. Life on the edge. You go to bed each night feeling good that your house didn’t burn down. Today.

They also have faux steampunk furniture:


Furniture that never was.


The wheel on the table goes round and round.


Who can resist alcohol stored in a spherical form?


Good ideas travel.

As you all know, I am not a collector. From time to time I might find a piece that is culturally signicant and I can justify adding to my non-collection. Recently I was stymied in my attemp to purchase some signicant steampunk art. Three times. They claimed it wasn’t for sale and further, wasn’t theirs to sell:


This one in Charleston.


Another one from the same shop.


And this one in Las Vegas. What’s made in Vegas stays in Vegas?

I really appreciated the abstract representation of our tangled life on the floor to the right.