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Author Topic: Subconcious Steampunk: hardware shop finds  (Read 333 times)
J. Wilhelm
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« on: September 24, 2017, 08:31:41 pm »

Hello dear ladies and gentlemen, I've noticed that we have a great many threads for flea market and second hand items, but I have not seen a thread exclusively made for those ready made items such as you might find at a decoration or hardware store. Why do I bring this about? Perhaps because I'm one of those unusual Steampunks who prefer to work from scratch and new elements bought at hardware stores. I usually will gather ideas just by walking about in hardware shops and then the ideas will coalesce into design palettes or themes...

This thread is dedicated to all the ready made hardware out there and the kinds of "themes" you can compose out of those.

Nothing wrong with re-purposing discarded or second hand items, as that squarely fits with long established Steampunk ethics, but it turns out that a great many designers, decorators and hardware engineers out there have subconsciously incorporated some steaminess into new hardware to be sold in a mass production setting. Most of these items I have found ARE NOT being labelled specifically as "Steampunk" at the online/brick and mortar store. And that's probably why they look better in the first place; They are not explicitly TRYING to glue a cog and make it Steampunk, but rather the designers are following a particular aesthetic (19th. C Industrial Revolution, Wild West, Safari/explorer, Early 20th. C. etc.)

The list of Victorianesque and downright Steampunky items (such as the "Edison" styled LED lamps and forged iron candelabra) is long and shows that while designers are not looking to make Steampunk, at a very subconscious level they are bringing the aesthetic into the house. I've seen some of the most steampunk items in the hardware store in the last 4 years or so, long after the Steampunk aesthetic ceased to appeal the "Blue Banana fadsters" on the Internet, so you know they're not trying to appeal to a Steampunk crowd.

There are so many styles out there that it's almost downright trivial to choose a very specific 19th. C. theme for your house, something which is - I deem - impossible in almost any other aesthetic, say Atomic Age, and even Art Deco, for example. At least in English speaking countries we have a great many choices inspired by the Vicwardian Era, and not so many for other periods, like the 17th / 18th C. Spanish Baroque/Colonial you find all over Mexico (I'll probably dedicate a non-Steampunk thread to that theme though. Mexico is GREAT for that type of period props and architecture - read "Pirate Steampunk" or "Colonial Steampunk" hardware).

Now, take these cabinet door knobs / drawer pull handles I found the other day at Hobby Lobby and the hardware I usually find at my local Lowe's hardware store:

Capt. Nemo theme anyone?



Edisons's lab theme

Manor and Stagecoach Theme

American "Prairie School" of design theme (In the 1900-1920's Frank Lloyd Wright style)

Can you think of more themes in your mind? Is it worth it to spend that extra dollar to get a new piece of hardware and then incorporate it to your flea market finds for the perfect Steampunk project or house design?
« Last Edit: September 24, 2017, 08:46:48 pm by J. Wilhelm » Logged

Synistor 303
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2017, 12:31:01 am »

I think what you are noticing are the things that have been made with elegance and a bit of aesthetic substance incorporated into their design, unlike the relentlessly ugly 'modern' designs we have been forced to endure for the past 40+ years. We have been renovating our 1980s house. During that era, every bit of elegance and charm was removed to the lowest common denominator. It has been a revelation to us (and family, friends and neighbours) the difference we have made by changing a lot of simple things, such as the 2" x 1/2" flat skirting boards for a 12" detailed skirting boards, windows, doors, floors etc. Sadly we have had to be a bit restrained when it comes to light fittings and ceiling fans because of ceiling height constraints (sigh).

Perhaps Steampunk was/is a hit-back at the relentlessly ugly and represents a desire for a bit more charm, elegance and workmanship to be incorporated into our lives. After the Art Deco period, architects blandedised everything. Is there an architect around today who does not design a series of boxes that may or may not jut out at odd angles and thinks they have created a masterpiece? "There is your house, madam."

I say; "Icky poo..."
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J. Wilhelm
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« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 02:43:53 am »

Well I did work in my family's luxury architectural stone business. The US went through a tremendous boom in the late 1990s, and young people will plenty of money to burn needed to furnish their mansions which were considerably larger that the previous millionaires' houses of the 20th C. This injected a huge amount of money into Chinese firms tasked with making custom looking hardware for residential use. Now that the boom is over, a huge industry was left with the ability to make all these types of specialty hardware. I think that was the reason these capricious designs appeared in the early 21st century.
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Banfili
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« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2017, 04:49:07 am »

Some nice stuff there - I could do with a bit of it!
Not much to be done with a late 60s weatherboard bungalow with requirements for mobility modifications, but I will do my best next influx of cash!!
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stamford23
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2017, 12:43:34 pm »

You have to be careful not to overdo it, because things will lose their charm. If someone knows the things he will do it as it should. Very nice collection.
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Cora Courcelle
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2017, 02:03:13 pm »

Now, take these cabinet door knobs / drawer pull handles I found the other day at Hobby Lobby and the hardware I usually find at my local Lowe's hardware store:



Can you think of more themes in your mind? Is it worth it to spend that extra dollar to get a new piece of hardware and then incorporate it to your flea market finds for the perfect Steampunk project or house design?

I can guarantee that if I saw these on sale there would not be any left in the shop by the time I exited!  They are perfect.
Personally I'd love to have a house where I could go wild with steampunk themes, and the Victorians were certainly no slouches when it came to the 'more is better' style of decorating.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2017, 02:05:30 pm by Cora Courcelle » Logged

You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...
Miranda.T
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2017, 06:24:59 pm »

There are some really nice items there - I'd particularly like the diving-helmet drawer knobs. As you might guess, modern minimalism has never appealed to us (much to the chargrin of our eldest...)

Yours,
Miranda.
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