Author Topic: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?  (Read 2155 times)

RJBowman

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Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« on: February 17, 2021, 09:06:32 pm »
This question is inspired by a post by J. Wilhelm in the Victorian Food Brands Still Extant discussion:

OK. I have another brand for the Mexican list. It's a brand of ice, actually. "Iglú" ice has been commercially sold since 1904 when the company was founded by Pedro Bang in Mexico City, and pushed forward by his son, Tomás Bang Chavarría in the 1930s before refrigeration became widespread.

https://hieloiglu.mx/


The brand enters the list since the Mexican SP period guess up to 1910 at the start of the Mexican Civil War.


...which suggests that there is not only a defined steampunk period, but that it varies from one country to another.

Victorian Era, Belle Époque, Gilded Age, Pre-Mexican Revolution.

How is this period defined for any given country?

Madasasteamfish

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2021, 09:41:56 pm »
Well, the reference point may well differ for different countries/cultures but the generally accepted 'historical definition' of the Steampunk era is between c.1835 and c.1940.

Steam engines as a power source/practical concept actually existed as far back as the 17th Century and there were various experiments with steam locomotives from the early 1800s (I believe Richard Trevithick designed and built at least 3 different steam locomotives between 1802 and 1812) but its' not until the 1830s that they really become practically viable/widespread for social and economic reasons in Western Europe (The US came slightly later due to the reliance on slave labour in the South and the frontier society/westward expansion one associates with the Wild West continued until the early 20th century in Canada and South America). Africa and Asia on the whole generally remained too economically underdeveloped (compared to Western Europe) to really make use of any steam technology which wasn't imported from Western Europe and or used by European colonists.

By 1940 (which is generally considered Dieselpunk territory) the internal combustion engine had developed to near it's modern dominance (whereas the steam engine never significantly developed after 1910ish) due to its' compact size and energy density of oil as a fuel compared to coal/wood, and steam only really persisted for political reasons (steam power persisted in widespread use inside Britain/Europe because those countries had large coal reserves, but unlike the US, were reliant on imported oil) to ensure self sufficiency and electric power was (and still is) hamstrung by the ability to store it.
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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2021, 01:00:14 am »
This question is inspired by a post by J. Wilhelm in the Victorian Food Brands Still Extant discussion:

OK. I have another brand for the Mexican list. It's a brand of ice, actually. "Iglú" ice has been commercially sold since 1904 when the company was founded by Pedro Bang in Mexico City, and pushed forward by his son, Tomás Bang Chavarría in the 1930s before refrigeration became widespread.

https://hieloiglu.mx/


The brand enters the list since the Mexican SP period guess up to 1910 at the start of the Mexican Civil War.


...which suggests that there is not only a defined steampunk period, but that it varies from one country to another.

Victorian Era, Belle Époque, Gilded Age, Pre-Mexican Revolution.

How is this period defined for any given country?

To be honest, it's very arbitrary sometimes. Not having another Latin American Steampunk in the forum to argue the point, I just have real-historical markers to "invent" a period. It all seems way too pedantic, even for me, because people will look for different things to define their own Steampunk. Pirate Steampunk, for example by necessity extends prior to the Victorian Era. And for many, proper Steampunk is industrial. I came to the conclusion that for a given country you'll have a "cultural" or "extended" period, meant to mesh that country's history with a potential or real interaction with Europe (for literary purposes, like a global war), but often the industrial period in real life will not start for decades after 1830, due to colonialism, independence, civil war, what have you. Certainly that applies to the Spanish colonies in the Americas.

Mercury Wells asked me a specific question (latest Latin American Steampunk margin), and this was my answer with a ridiculously long justification - mostly as if talking to myself (I'm not sure I wouldn't modify my answer later):

Wilhelm...what do you think, would be the last possible year of SP era in Centeral & S. Americia?

Good question. I have never really given it a thought.

Let me start by re-stating the one Latin American country for which I have defined a Steampunk Era . For "Spanish North America" (Mexico) the period either starts in the 1860s, when the French invade and install Maximilian, because it overlaps with the American Civil War, and there's some limited interaction with the United States, and I call this the Extended Steampunk Period (allows meshing of military history to European Steampunk Era), and otherwise it can be defined as a proper "Industrial Steampunk Period" starting with the term of President Porfirio Díaz in 1876 enveloping the introduction of locomotives, massive migration from Europe and ending concurrently with the end of the Mexican Civil War, 1920. Since Mexico participated in WWII, their Diesel Period ends on 1945.

Mexico Extended Steampunk Period, 1864-1920,
Industrial Steampunk Period, 1876-1920
Diesel Period, 1920-1945

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The dates for South America parallel Mexico's somewhat, but the start is more sketchy and arbitrary. Several nations Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Perú had a common independence history and a series of internal conflicts as civil wars, which ended with a unified country of Argentina in 1862. Afterwards you see wars between these countries, where territories were defined and they begin to diverge in 1880 when the Argentine armed forces turn inward under President Julio Argentino Roca to fight the natives, clearing land in the desert, which allowed massive migration from Europe to take place.

It is at that point that railroad technology came in force (it had been introduced in the 1860s), and Argentina's economy boomed with exports, making a wealthy nation way above other Latin American nations until 1916, when the last president of their prosperous Era was elected (the tenure of President Hipólito Yrigoyen ended in 1930 with a crisis brought about by the US Great Depression, thus ending explosive growth.) So I'll define the end as 1916 (but 1918 is valid, I think on a cultural basis). Since Argentina was the most influential Spanish speaking country in the region, I'll say that should be the date for smaller Spanish speaking countries outside of Brazil, which is culturally different, and Mexico which is in North America. Afterwards, that would be their Dieselpunk Period, which includes the first tenure of Juan Domingo Perón until 1951.

For South America (except Brazil)
Extended Steampunk Period 1862 - 1916/18
Industrial Steampunk Period, 1880-1916/18,
and 1918-1951 is the South American Dieselpunk Period.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Brazil, you also have two possible start dates, an extended Steampunk Period and an Industrial Steampunk Period, when the nation begins to look more modernized.

The Extended Steampunk Period starts during civil wars and uprisings against monarchy in which a European insurrectionist, namely Giuseppe Garibaldi was lending support to the cessesion movement in Brazil. At the time, Brazil was a monarchy started by a prince of Portugal, Prince Pedro de Alcantara, who became Regent of Brazil, in 1821, and Emperor of Brazil, Don Pedro I in 1822, after declaring independence from Portugal. The relevant war of cessesion where Brazil interacted with Garibaldi would be the  "Ragamuffin War" (Portuguese: Guerra dos Farrapos or, more commonly Revolução Farroupilha) in 1835. Garibaldi joined the war in 1836.

The Industrial Steampunk Period probably starts when King Dom Pedro II was deposed by a military junta in November 1889 (In 1893 the first civilian republican government was established).

Brazil participated in WWI, which means that without another major conflict or political change, 1918 becomes the end of the Steampunk Era and the start of the Diesel Era. They also participated in WWII, on the Allied side, after entering a dispute with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, so their Diesel Period ends in 1945.

So for Brazil,
Extended Steampunk Period is 1836-1918 (rather early mostly because of Garibaldi, this is very arbitrary for me to define I can't grasp a better date, I'd prefer something in the 1860s more in line with Argentina),
Industrial Steampunk Period is 1889-1918,
and the Diesel Period is 1918-1945.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Central America it's much more difficult to define, as they were and still are much less developed than the other two regions. However I would include Guatemala with Mexico, because during the early years after independence for a brief time Guatemala was part of Mexico.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I think that safely the end of WWI is a valid date for South America, generally speaking. Mexico was caught in a Civil War that did not end until 1920, and that extended their period, while South America could enjoy peace and listen to the newfangled jazz since 1918.

Brazilian Magazine "Para Todos" 16 July, 1927
« Last Edit: March 03, 2021, 01:03:30 am by J. Wilhelm »

chicar

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2021, 07:07:55 pm »
My steampunk period's lenght is mosly based on how i have been teach the ''longer 19th century'' dured, mainly from the the french revolution to the end of WWI.
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von Corax

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2021, 08:43:35 pm »
As I look at it, Steampunk is a subgenre of retrofuturism, that is, the future as seen from the past. For me, Steampunk is not formed but rather informed mainly by the so-called "Vicwardian" period, basically from the mid-1800s (which in turn reference the Industrial Revolution) up until the beginning of the Great War and fading out through the end of the War and into the early 1920s. The "Steampunk Period" is pretty much right now, as seen from that past period.
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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2021, 07:26:34 pm »
Agree with Chicar, I think WW1 is the cutoff. After that, petroleum really takes over from coal and we're in dieselpunk territory.
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RJBowman

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2021, 09:19:15 pm »
Agree with Chicar, I think WW1 is the cutoff. After that, petroleum really takes over from coal and we're in dieselpunk territory.

I would have put the cutoff at circa mid 1920's. To me steampunk is more about style and feel than the fuels used to power the machines.

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2021, 11:03:19 pm »
Agree with Chicar, I think WW1 is the cutoff. After that, petroleum really takes over from coal and we're in dieselpunk territory.

I would have put the cutoff at circa mid 1920's. To me steampunk is more about style and feel than the fuels used to power the machines.

I'd go for 1929-30! The end of the world as it was known, introducing The Great Depression and more than twenty five years of social and political chaos, disaster, violence in word and deed, and, of course, world war - again.

1929 allows for early Art Deco and Art Nouveau, Fauvism and Blue Rider - in artistic and architectural expression and design - leading to  futurism, brutalism and the other harsher design and architectural styles which developed in tandem with the extreme political and social behaviour of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s!

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2021, 11:22:19 pm »
Agree with Chicar, I think WW1 is the cutoff. After that, petroleum really takes over from coal and we're in dieselpunk territory.

I would have put the cutoff at circa mid 1920's. To me steampunk is more about style and feel than the fuels used to power the machines.

I'd go for 1929-30! The end of the world as it was known, introducing The Great Depression and more than twenty five years of social and political chaos, disaster, violence in word and deed, and, of course, world war - again.

1929 allows for early Art Deco and Art Nouveau, Fauvism and Blue Rider - in artistic and architectural expression and design - leading to  futurism, brutalism and the other harsher design and architectural styles which developed in tandem with the extreme political and social behaviour of the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s!

Like von Corax, I think of Steampunk as proper to the Vic-Wardian era(s).
Pax Banfili... the Art Nouveau period was late 19thC to early 20th c., running out of steam (haha...little forum pun there  ;D) just prior to WWI.
Art Deco picked up after that sliding into the 1920s.
Which is why I incorporate  some of the Art Nouveau look into my projects, but also (cheating a bit) a smattering of the the Art Deco look also.  

Art Nouveau

Art Deco



 
« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 11:28:48 pm by Deimos »
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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2021, 11:38:22 pm »
There's certainly an overlap. I can imagine steampunk in the 1920s and dieselpunk in the 1920s.

However, I haven't seen or read a lot of steampunk that's set in the 1920s. There's plenty of dieselpunk (or dieselpunk-esque) art and fiction in the period: Hanamity's art, Boardwalk Empire, The Lost City of Z, Sarah Zama's novels. Art Deco, which I would definitely consider more diesel- than steampunk-appropriate, started in the 1920s. Jazz and the 1920s' more relaxed social norms, including the emancipation of women and gays, all strike me as more dieselpunk-y than steampunk. Belonging to the "lighter" side of dieselpunk, that is.

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2021, 07:16:53 pm »
I was just asking my husband (since he is a diesel mechanic) when that time period pretty much started being prevalent. He said roughly mid 1950's? though it is possible there were some earlier than that. (He dad was a over the road freight hauler) driving the big diesel trucks. Here in the center of the nation he felt there was not as much industry using either the steam or diesel as there was/is in the coastal areas. I found myself more fascinated with his tale if the chain drive trucks from the 20's and 30's. Would have been hard to handle one I would think! Can you picture running a load up into the rocky mountains in the middle of winter driving one of those? shakes head... scary but fascinating!  ;D

(This discussion has started a big history lesson from different fuels thru how natural fats keeping muskets from "gumming" up as far as cleaning compared to the black powder guns back in the mid 1970's up till recently.) A very pleasent way to spend the afternoon!  ;D
« Last Edit: March 13, 2021, 07:42:32 pm by madamemarigold »

J. Wilhelm

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Re: Is there a "Steampunk Period"?
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2021, 07:39:30 pm »
To be honest there was an overlap between Art Nouveau and Art Déco in some isolated instances, especially in Asia where some elements of the Jazz Age were inspired from Japanese murals which had a number of commonalities with Art Nouveau. There's a Japanese Manga called "xXx-Holic" which is a sort of modern ghost - story, and the artist(s) (Clamp studios) draw the panels in ink with a style heavily intersecting Art Déco, traditional Japanese, and Art Nouveau. It's not difficult to see an overlap.



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« Last Edit: March 13, 2021, 07:41:48 pm by J. Wilhelm »