Happy Hogmanay!

Posted by on December 31st,2006
Happy New Year/Hogmanay

Have a very happy Hogmanay (or new year), may 2007 bring us lots of delightful Steampunk things to tickle our fancy, and best wishes to you and yours.

Eccentric Wooden Tower

Posted by on December 31st,2006

Wooden tower of Arkhangelsk

Ok, both the Table of Malcontents and Neatorama had this, and I couldn’t resist any longer – it’s the wooden ‘skyscraper’ of the town of Arkhangelsk in Russia, and it’s handmade by one resident of that town to rise about 10 storeys above the height of the rest of the towns two storey skyline. The officials want to pull it down, but the owner (and many of the residents in the town) like it. I certainly like it – it looks like something from a Victorian horror story, or where an obsessive compulsive Steampunk inventor would house his/her many inventions as floorspace became troublesome. We all know how it is – you try putting shelves up, but eventually you run out of walls…

I do love it though – despite the impracticallity of it. Looming out of the mist like something imagined in a black and white film, they could probably charge for tourists to visit. Very evocative name for the town too – is it, as I suspect, Russian for archangel?

Steampunkopedia from Retrostacja

Posted by on December 31st,2006

Steampunkopedia

Just a last few posts before Hogmanay is apon us, but I must let you know about the new, English language and reorganised Steampunkopedia from the Retrostacja page. From the quite unique and very well researched chronology, to the surfeit of Steampunk related links, to a collection of Steampunk music videos (as well as a section for appropriate press releases), Retrostacja has a great deal of Steampunk goodness for us all to enjoy.

Orchestrions and Mechanical Antiques

Posted by on December 30th,2006

Orchestrion

The Generalissimo J. Dalio wrote some time ago to tell me about the Musee Mechanique (warning – noisy page) she visited in San Fransisco – a collection of old and restored mechanical attractions from fairgrounds and seasides – from Laffing Sal, who’s paper mache face and boisterous laugh terrified children for decades, to coin-operated teasingly titilating stereogram viewers, to an orchestrion (such as above), the logical and extreme conclusion of music boxes with violins, flutes, cymbals, etc! The Generalissimo recommends a visit most highly, with a surfiet of automatons and curios from the 1800′s to the late 1990′s! Sounds like quite the fascinating place to see the height of entertainment technology from days gone by.

Chronographia’s Steampunk Cards

Posted by on December 30th,2006

Chronographia's Steampunk Card

The above is a woefully shrunken version of the card that the delightfully named Chronographia hand made for her friends – with definite and deliberate Steampunk influence too. Mr Stephen P. pointed it out and I am very grateful – but I am also embarrasingly envious of the fortunate people who recieved such cards. Each one made with a hand drawn unique snowflake inside to boot. But really – it is the Steampunk snow machine that really does top it, though the moustache on the operator is pretty marvelous too.

Pufferfish Controlled Brass Horns

Posted by on December 29th,2006

Puffer Fish Pedastal

Ok, this has to be one of the more peculiar things that I’ve found, but it’s delightfully bonkers and more than a little Steampunk. It’s like someone took the tame but quite unhinged sketches of a Victorian inventor and actually made one come true! What is it? Well, it’s Keny Marshall’s Apophenia – and it’s pufferfish in a glass and brass pedastal, watched without rest by several cameras which convert the fishes’ movement into in- and exhalations into brass horns. I found this over at the Table of Malcontents (and they found it at We Make Money Not Art). I imagine if you were in Pittsburgh, you could go and see/hear it in the… brass? Wanders off, impressed by the curiosity of it

The Eise Eisinga Planetarium

Posted by on December 29th,2006

Eise Eisinga Planatarium

It is my very sad duty to inform you that in the year 1774, on Sunday the 8th of May, there was a conjuction of Mercury, Mars, Venus, Jupiter and the Moon and the resultant gravitational pull yanked the Earth out of its orbit and careening into the sun, to be burned to a frazzle. Terribly sorry about that, and all. (Now there’s a plot for a Steampunk short.) Well, so maybe it didn’t happen, but the Leeuwarden Newspaper in Friesland thought that it was going to – and published a warning to all. Of course, Mr Eise Eisinga knew it to be terror-fuelling rubbish and thought it better to show people, than to tell. So he converted a room of a house into a planatarium to demonstrate the orbits and distances involved – it took him seven-ish years.

I have to thank the submitter known enigmatically as C.S. for pointing this out – the planatarium is the oldest working planatarium still around and made mostly of oak in the ceiling space of the room where it is built. Marvelous work, and filled with quirks. The official site for the museum is here (English version, but there’s more info on the Dutch site) and theres a very informative unofficial site in English too.

Jin Wicked – Artist/Illustrator

Posted by on December 27th,2006

Kitten and the Clockmaker Cafepress

Some time ago, Mr M Snyder sent me a bundle of links that I’m still having the pleasure of making my way through – one of which is to the artist Jin Wicked‘s page. An artist with a love for clocks, cogs and antiques is always something I like to see, and Ms Wicked’s work has that in spades. Even her signature image sports a dashing hat, a brolly, a feathered wing and a mechanical wing, and a backdrop of cogs and flowers – quite a Steampunk combination!

The above image is one of Ms Wicked’s drawings entitled Kitten and Clockmaker, and shows a diminutive clockmaker in his busy workshop working on a goggle-wearing angelic automaton. What a world to have painted in one image! Much to my dismay, the actual page for that image seems to be broken, so the image above is from the Cafepress shop. Many thanks, Mr Snyder!

Mechanical/Electrical Butterfly

Posted by on December 27th,2006

Butterfly Ornament

I apologise for the blurry picture; I’m sure it was taken in haste due to the excitement of creation, but the subject itself is interesting – the Resistor Butterfly, a cobbled together ornament from various items that the creator (the Datamancer, known before for some lovely cog necklaces) had available in the house: jewelery scraps, wire, clock gear, electronics and a phone line wall box. You should know, however, that on the same page as this butterfly is a marvelous construction of gutted lightbulb and LED based firefly imitations – and I was ever so close to posting that initially. But the gods of Steampunk would have frowned apon me, for while the firefly bulb is delightful, it is not actually Steampunk by my own standards. But the butterfly is lovely – indeed it reminds me of those note holding clips that populate many an office desk.

Metronome – PC/360 Game?

Posted by on December 27th,2006

Metronome Screenshot

My thanks to Mr J Svensson who pointed out the above game, Metronome, to me (though it seems it’s been on Retrostacja’s link page for a while). Made by the Swedish game developers, Tarsier Studios, it’s a third person adventure that reeks of graphical style not terribly unlike a cartoonish version of something inspired by the film Delicatessen. It’s an alternative world where the Corporation rules all things, and steam engines and giant switchboards dominate a city where people just can’t help but work.
The main ‘trick’ to the game, however, must be its reliance on sound – a puzzle system where each sound can be recorded and used to manipulate the world around you. Sounds (no pun intended) most interesting, but to my sorrow the game has gone all quiet. It seems that since a good showing at E3, they’ve yet to pick up a publisher to run with the game, and it languishes unloved. There’s little information, but you can find a trailer here, along with screenshots and the official site (as yet unopened). Looks nice, and I wish them all the best in their quest for a publisher. I wonder what a Metrognome is…

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