The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Sunday, December 22, 2013 0 comments

Adventure!

This is a fantastic little Steampunk film.

Enjoy!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

On Role Playing

Saturday, November 30, 2013 1 comments

What is it about Steampunk...

That makes us want to actually experience all the gadgets and wonderful alternate history for real?
Is it the gadgets, the fearsome weapons and monsters, the complexity of clockwork mechanisms, the power of steam, the elegance of a beribboned bustle, the intriguing glimpse of a lace edged corset?

As you know, if you have been following my posts on Airship design, I am a member of a role playing group that is the crew and passengers of an exotic airship in the service of her Imperial Majesty Queen Victoria.

According to Wikipedia:

A role-playing game (RPG and sometimes roleplaying game) is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting or through a process of structured decision-making or character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.
Our group is not a game in the sense of the last line of that quote, rather it is a shared storyline that we are participants in. The story gives our characters a common history, and a chance to play in the alternate world we have created. We have created a complex story with intrigue, action, boredom, danger, humour, travel, and good companionship.  The main purpose of the group is really to have fun with a set of Steampunk characters. Since we all enjoy the costuming and gadgets that Steampunk is famous for, we also have a chance to wear our characters "out in public" so to speak.

Now having a group of like minded people building gadgets and sewing costumes is certainly not new or unique. In fact there are many airship crews, military units, expeditions, and such like out there. The Neo-Victorian world is a world of exploration and adventure after all.

Here are three things our group does that we find helps to increase our enjoyment.

First thing is the "Story" of course.

Originally the group was simply the crew of an airship, with a minimal setting in which to place our characters mostly for costuming purposes. Eventually people began to add back stories to their characters. Since we wanted to share the world, we tried to place the back stories in a common context. That meant that we needed to settle some details of the world so that we all knew where and when our characters were supposed to be.

This was surprisingly hard to do, we didn't want to be too detailed in respect to the alternate history in which our characters lived (mainly because we couldn't agree!) and because we didn't want to be too limiting. We eventually settled on not having a specific date but rather that we would simply be "sometime" in the late 19th c. with Queen Victoria still ruling the vast British Empire. We decided that there were some changes from real history to liven things up. For example the South won the Civil War and North America consists of five countries. The Union, the Confederacy, Texas, the British Colony of Canada and the Spanish provinces of Mexico and California.

The Royal Navy now has an Airship component of which our airship is a part. The military side of our world is that of the Victorian Royal Navy and Army.  The civil world is pretty much that of the Neo-Victorian Steampunk worlds we all know and love.

So far so good.

When we weren't getting together for drinks in our costumes we all hung out online, and it was a natural extension to roleplay interactions between the characters. As time went on it became apparent that as we did so a story line began to develop too. A realtime history began to appear recorded in the conversations and roleplay.

One of us suggested that, since we were an airship crew, why not have the airship arrive somewhere and then we could get together in costume as if we were actually at that place. So when we went to London we went to see "Gaslight" and when we went to Venice we had dinner in an Italian restaurant before going to see Gilbert and Sullivan's "Gondoliers". Of course it helped to have the story follow along with reasons for being in these places.

My wife is a mystery writer as well as a member of our group and she volunteered to keep track of the story and help to move it along. Essentially she became what in a normal RPG is known as the Dungeon Master.  We have had some really interesting twists and turns in the story which has seen our crew involved in corporate intrigues, spies, sabotage, battles, and storms.

Not everyone in the group participates in the online roleplay which is fine because really the roleplay is just adding colour to our character's shared history.

Second thing is the "Technology".

We are an airship crew and consequently the airship itself becomes a major character in the story.
My Practical Airship Design posts cover how I see our fine ship, being her Chief Engineer and all.  But this is an alternate history and a Steampunk one so our airship isn't the only exotic technology we have to play with.

Personally I like Steampunk tech to be close to real tech (see my first article on Airship Design) but not  everybody in the group thinks like that of course.

The trick is to make the technologies "appropriate" to the world, so for example we have complex semi intelligent machines but they appear to be clockwork driven mechanisms. Fiendishly complex but still clockwork. If someone wants to add a new piece of tech we try to decide how it fits in, because the nature of our roleplay means once introduced it becomes part of the world. So far nearly everything has fit, mechanical rats, ornithopters, mechanical augmentation, and even "brass bound blasters" for our detachment of Royal Airship Marines.

Third is Non Player Characters (NPCs)

This has turned out to be one of the most interesting aspects of our story, because not all our members are active in the roleplay, often it is necessary to have other characters involved in the action. What is a crew without crew members? So we have added NPCs as other members of the crew and other people in the World that can help to move the story along. For example as Chief Engineer I have a "Black Gang", as the engine room crew of a Victorian Royal Navy ship was known, of six men each slightly different characters useful as other points of view from my main character. When used judiciously the NPCs can really help to flesh out the action, and keep the story moving even if most of the other members are busy doing real life things.

Plus if a "Red Shirt" is ever needed...

These three elements, a real time story, appropriate technology, and NPCs, have really helped to add life and colour to the shared story that our characters inhabit. When we do get together in our costumed finery we have a shared history of adventures, dangers, excitement and travel.

And a finer bunch of shipmates a man could not hope for.


Keep your sight glass full, your fiebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

World of Steam coming soon!

Thursday, November 14, 2013 0 comments

This is going to be fantastic!

Update Nov 20, 2013!
This is fantastic!
First episode is out.



Enjoy!



This series starts shortly so keep an eye out.
Details here:
The World of Steam

Ignore the stupid cover photo it should look like this:





Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

When Steampunk was real

Saturday, November 2, 2013 0 comments

A fascinating collection of tales.

This beautifully bound and printed book is a collection of Victorian Science Fiction tales.
Edited by Mike Ashley, these tales have wonders that even today's Steampunk authors are hard put to equal.
From the forward:

The assemblage of these unjustly forgotten stories... provides us with a chance to divest ourselves of a century of preconceptions, misconceptions and misprisions, and to return to the dawn of a literature, when the future-- our present-- still shone with a numinous radiance.
--Paul Di Filippo
There are tales of airships, robots, aerocars, submarines, fearsome weapons, marvelous adventures and catastrophic dangers. These are tales of the future from a time "when everything seemed not only possible but inevitable."

Although the book is entitled "Steampunk" these are not Steampunk tales anymore than Jules Verne or H.G. Wells tales are Steampunk. These are indeed "Extraordinary Tales of Victorian Futurism", as the subtitle states, and show that imagination is a gift we all share whether in Victorian times or now.

This book is also a jewel as a physical object, the cover is gorgeous, nearly every page is bordered by gears and colours, and the tales are illustrated with fanciful and period illustrations. The colours are vibrant. The pages are fairly thick paper which complements the illustrations and text, giving this book a heft that is a joy to hold and read.

Truly a marvelous addition to anyones library of fiction.

Alas I was only lent this beauty, thank you Monica, so it must return to its owner but I will certainly keep on the lookout to add it to my collection.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Title
Steampunk
Extraordinary Tales of Victorian Futurism

Author
Various
Edited by Mark Ashley

Publisher
Fall River Press

Date
2012

ISBN
978-1-4351-4193-3

American Civil War Naval Chronology 1861-1865

Thursday, October 17, 2013 1 comments

A massive book this!

Recently acquired on a trip out to the fabulous used book mecca of Sydney BC this book is nearly 3 kg of awesomeness!

Originally published as a set of five annual paperbacks for the US Department of the Navy for the Centenary of the Civil War, starting in 1961 and continuing until 1965, each volume covered one year of the conflict. A further volume published in 1966 contained a detailed index and a collection of eye witness accounts and  other details to support the previous volumes. My copy was published as a single consolidated volume in 1971 and is in mint condition.

Clocking in at over 1000 pages this book is filled with photos, maps, diagrams and detailed accounts of nearly every naval action of the Civil War. A true treasure for anyone interested in the Civil War but also a fascinating look at the transition from sail to steam, from the old "Wooden Ships and Iron Men" of the Napoleonic era to the age of steam and armour that defined the shifting technological world of the Navy in the 19th Century.

The photos are reproduced in fairly good detail, if a little dark, and the text is also illustrated with period maps and photos of actual documents, diaries, letters and sketches.

Definitely not a good book to try to read in bed unless you have a block and tackle to hold it though!

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


Title
Civil War Naval Chronology

Author
Various

Publisher
Naval History Division
US Department of the Navy

Date
1961-66
Consolidated volume 1971

Ruffus Rules!

Thursday, October 3, 2013 0 comments

Adventure!

Found this at Steampunk Canada

The Ruffus Steampunk Adventure is a new web series that is raising funds through IndieGoGo. It's an epic tale about the quest for a mysterious mechanical book that is the key to global domination for a nefarious Robber Baron and it falls to our heroes to save the world.

YOU can help make the adventure happen by visiting: http://igg.me/at/steampunkruffus - Find out more! Contribute if you can! Share the news! Save the world!

Or at least help us save the world from the excessive use of exclamation marks.

Thank you.



Looks like it will be fun!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Nickel Children

Saturday, September 28, 2013 0 comments

Wonderful


A fabulous little short film from 2010.
This grim and gritty tale has some excellent "Frontier Steampunk" looks in it.
Enjoy.



Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Once Upon a Time

0 comments

Steampunk!

I so want to see this when completed.



Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Airship Pilot No. 28

Sunday, September 22, 2013 0 comments

Memoirs of a real Airship Pilot!

I acquired this wonderful book a month ago at a "Antique Mall" in Airdrie Alberta.

Written by T.B. Williams and published in 1974. This book chronicles the his adventures after joined the Royal Navy in 1915 to become an Airship pilot. In the days before the fixed wing heavier than air craft became the standard military aircraft, the hydrogen filled airship, non-rigid and semi rigid were the mainstay of the Royal Navy for scouting and convoy protection from submarine attack near the coast of England. No convoy suffered a loss from submarine attack when one of these airships was in attendance during their approach.

Williams was awarded Airship Pilot Certificate no 28 in 1917. He was instrumental in the training of other pilots as well as being on the crew of the Italian semi-rigid that was the first aircraft to ever fly from Italy to England. He eventually was promoted to Captain.

A fascinating look at the uses that the Royal Navy, and later the Royal Airforce put these primitive but very useful craft too.

Captain Williams also chronicles the post war decline and attempted resurrection of the Airship, for commercial use including the R100 and R101.

The book is filled with interesting photographs and has an extensive bibliography of books that will be very useful to track down.

A must read for anyone interested in this unsung chapter of military aviation.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water ived.
KJ


Title
Airship Pilot No.28

Author
Captain T.B. Williams A.F.C.

Publisher
Willia Kimber and Co.
London

Date
1974

ISBN
07-183-0153-6

Airfoiled

Saturday, September 21, 2013 0 comments

A fun short film!

The trials of being an inventor.



Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

I'm not dead yet!

Friday, September 20, 2013 0 comments

In case anyone was wondering, heh.

I have had an amazingly busy September.

Calgary hosted the first annual Beakerhead event this year and the various Steampunk groups I belong to were trying to get organized to attend.  We actually had a pretty good turnout and had a great time.

Beakerhead is a five day festival celebrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Art. With street displays, interactive exhibits, a mini Maker Faire and one hell of a lot of partying.

One shouldn't drive one's couch when under the influence of Absinthe.
 Next year will be even bigger and we are planning to make sure that Steampunk is a big part of it!
If you are interested in helping out check out the Steampunk Arts and Sciences Society Facebook page.

Keep your sghtglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Steampunk Painting Technique

Monday, September 2, 2013 0 comments

Painting plastic to look like metal.

I'm working on a device for an upcoming Steampunk event and went looking for techniques to make plastic pipe look like metal.

My artistic skills are just about nil but this tutorial from the talented gang at "Its a Trap" shows one way to do it.

Enjoy
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


How to recognize a Steampunk

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 0 comments

Found this posted on the Book of Faces today.

How to Recognize a Steampunk
By 


Steampunks don't always walk around wearing their full Steampunk finery, so how can you tell whether someone is a Steampunk or not? Here's a tongue-in-cheek (and yet 100% true!) guide to help you determine whether someone you know is a Steampunk.
They may be a Steampunk if....

  • ...their eyes light up whenever someone throws something metal away.
  • ...their everyday clothes are several decades out of date.
  • ...they adopt an English accent for no discernible reason.
  • ...they wear goggles but don't actually need them.
  • ...all of their plastic items have been spray-painted to look like brass.
  • ...they own more than one hat that isn't a baseball cap or a fedora.
  • ...many of their stories start with "I was in the workshop and..."
  • ...they eschew a wristwatch in favor of a pocket watch.
  • ...they use words like "eschew".
  • ...they own more broken than working clocks.
  • ...they own more books than movies.
  • .......most of which were written more than a hundred years ago.
  • ...they take pride in how old their belongings are.
  • ...they own more than one set of cufflinks.
  • ...they know what a cravat and/or bustle is.
  • ......and the difference between a gear and a cog.
  • ...their Nerf guns are all in various stages of being painted and/or taken apart.
  • ...their ears perk up whenever someone says the word "esteem".
  • ...they have a crush on Nikola Tesla.
  • ......and they get angry whenever someone mentions Thomas Edison.
  • ...their wardrobe consists entirely of shades of brown.
  • ......and yet will tell you that brown isn't the only color in Steampunk.
  • ...they use a smart phone, but it has a wood or leather case.
  • ...they visit their local thrift store more often than their local department store.
  • ...they've picked up something someone has thrown away and said, "Oh, I could make ___ out of this..."
  • ...they visit the hardware or sewing supply store more often than the grocery store.
  • ...they work odd historical facts into every conversation.
  • ...they used to drink coffee, but now exclusively drink tea instead.
  • ...even their underwear is historically accurate.
  • ......or only their underwear is historically accurate.
  • .........or their underwear is so concealing that it would qualify as outerwear.
  • ...when they refer to The Wild, Wild West without the word "bad", they mean the TV show from 1965, and not the 1999 movie.
  • ......and likewise when they refer to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, they mean the comic books and not the movie.
  • ...when they wear Steampunk clothes, they insist that it's an "outfit, not a costume".
  • ...they carry a cane, but don't need it.
  • ...they own a parasol, and don't refer to it as an umbrella, or worse as a "sunbrella".
  • ...they don't like anise, but cultivated a taste for absinthe.
  • ......or they drink vodka screwdrivers just for the name.
  • .........or they've learned to appreciate the taste of gin.
  • ...it never occurred to them to wear their corset under their clothes.
  • ...they are convinced that they alone know the true definition of Steampunk.
If more than five of these apply, the person in question is probably a Steampunk. If more than ten of these apply, the person in question is definitely a Steampunk.
If more than twenty of these apply, the person in question doesn't need a list for other people to know they're Steampunk, because they ooze it out of every pore!

=============================================
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


Beauty in Gears

Sunday, August 25, 2013 0 comments

There is a intriguing beauty in clockwork.

These images by photographer Guido Mocafico show the elegance and beauty of these amazing high end watches.  The photographs are collected in his book Movement.

This is from one of the reviews on Amazon:

The first paragraph in this book reads: "This is a book of photographs. The photographs in this book all show watch movements, but it is not a book about watches."

That is undoubtedly true. This is not a book about watches, it is a book solely about the beauty of high grade, contemporary wristwatch movements. The Italian photographer Guido Mocafico, together with the German design team of Steidl Publishers, and with the technical advice of Swiss watchmaker Antoine Simonin, has created one of the most extraordinary `watch books' I have ever seen.

The team selected 37 contemporary wristwatch movements, and took amazing, full movement photographs of them (sometimes the under dial view, sometimes the back of the movement). The core of the book consists of these 37 very large, incredibly detailed pictures. They are each reproduced on a double page, in 12 inch diameter vivid color images of stunning clarity and depth of focus, without any text on the pages to diminish their visceral impact.
 

Shorn of their faces and without cases these could be any kind of machine not just a watch.  Perhaps these are parts of some larger mechanism or the controls of some fearful weapon. These images inspire imagination!

Here are some examples:





Keep your sightglass full, your fiebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

My Airship!

Sunday, August 18, 2013 0 comments

Finally

I managed to get a reasonable diagram put together of the airship I have been designing and describing in my Practical Airship Design series.

The diagram is loosely based on the Graf Zeppelin. I was going to use the outline of the Hindenburg which is smoother but I like the look of the slightly more primitive shape of the Graf.

The base shape was done by Wolf  and can be found along with similar drawings of many airships real and proposed at http://wolfsshipyard.com/www.wolfsshipyard.mystarship.co/Misc/Airships/Airships.htm  
That page is definitely worth a visit if you are interested in Airships!

So here she is in all her glory the newly christened HMAS Velvet Brush.

HMAS Velvet Brush by Kevin Jepson based on the Graf Zeppelin. Original image from Wolfs Shipyard
Keep your sight glass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Steampunk Art by Vadim Voitekhovitch

Monday, August 5, 2013 0 comments

My favourite artist...

Vadim Voitekhovitch has a moody and atmospheric style that I like to use to illustrate the Steampunk worlds I build in my head.

I have used his images to illustrate my Airship Design posts, mainly because his airships are both whimsical and apparently practical.  The scenes are serene but complex. The environments are rich and detailed without being chaotic.

You can see them in detail here at the Steampunk Art of *Voitv


This is a world I could quite happily inhabit!

Enjoy.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Advice on Business from 1860

Friday, August 2, 2013 0 comments

More from
THE GENTLEMEN’S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE, AND MANUAL OF POLITENESS

This section is quoted from an English Lawyer.
Good advice actually.
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

A celebrated English lawyer gives the following directions for young men entering into business. He says:—
Select the kind of business that suits your natural inclinations and temperament.—Some men are naturally mechanics; others have a strong aversion to anything like machinery, and so on; one man has a natural taste for one occupation in life, and another for another.

“I never could succeed as a merchant. I have tried it, unsuccessfully, several times. I never could be content with a fixed salary, for mine is a purely speculative disposition, while others are just the reverse; and therefore all should be careful to select those occupations that suit them best.

Let your pledged word ever be sacred.—Never promise to do a thing without performing it with the most rigid promptness. Nothing is more valuable to a man in business than the name of always doing as he agrees, and that to the moment. A strict adherence to this rule gives a man the command of half the spare funds within the range of his acquaintance, and encircles him with a host of friends, who may be depended upon in any emergency.

Whatever you do, do with all your might.—Work at it, if necessary, early and late, in season and out of season, not leaving a stone unturned, and never deferring for a single hour that which can just as well be done now. The old proverb is full of truth and meaning—“Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” Many a man acquires a fortune by doing his business thoroughly, while his neighbor remains poor for life, because he only half does his business. Ambition, energy, industry, and perseverance, are indispensable requisites for success in business.

Sobriety. Use no description of intoxicating drinks.—As no man can succeed in business unless he has a brain to enable him to lay his plans, and reason to guide him in their execution, so, no matter how bountifully a man may be blessed with intelligence, if his brain is muddled, and his judgment warped by intoxicating drinks, it is impossible for him to carry on business successfully. How many good opportunities have passed never to return, while a man was sipping a ‘social glass’ with a friend! How many a foolish bargain has been made under the influence of the wine-cup, which temporarily makes his victim so rich! How many important chances have been put off until to-morrow, and thence for ever, because indulgence has thrown the system into a state of lassitude, neutralizing the energies so essential to success in business. The use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage is as much an infatuation as is the smoking of opium by the Chinese, and the former is quite as destructive to the success of the business man as the latter.

Let hope predominate, but be not too visionary.—Many persons are always kept poor because they are too visionary. Every project looks to them like certain success, and, therefore, they keep changing from one business to another, always in hot water, and always ‘under the harrow.’ The plan of ‘counting the chickens before they are hatched,’ is an error of ancient date, but it does not seem to improve by age.

Do not scatter your powers.—Engage in one kind of business only, and stick to it faithfully until you succeed, or until you conclude to abandon it. A constant hammering on one nail will generally drive it home at last, so that it can be clinched. When a man’s undivided attention is centered on one object, his mind will continually be suggesting improvements of value, which would escape him if his brain were occupied by a dozen different subjects at once. Many a fortune has slipped through men’s fingers by engaging in too many occupations at once.

Engage proper employees.—Never employ a man of bad habits when one whose habits are good can be found to fill his situation. I have generally been extremely fortunate in having faithful and competent persons to fill the responsible situations in my business; and a man can scarcely be too grateful for such a blessing. When you find a man unfit to fill his station, either from incapacity or peculiarity of character or disposition, dispense with his services, and do not drag out a miserable existence in the vain attempt to change his nature. It is utterly impossible to do so, ‘You cannot make a silk purse,’ &c. He has been created for some other sphere; let him find and fill it.”

What is it for again?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 0 comments

Babbage engines...


Heh!

I love Wondermark

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Time travel...

Sunday, July 28, 2013 0 comments

Time ...

A lovely little short Steampunk adventure.




Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Automatons in the Old West

Friday, July 26, 2013 0 comments

Fun!



Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your joints oiled.
KJ

Steam Powered Box Factory

Sunday, July 21, 2013 0 comments

Steam power in action.

This steam powered wooden box factory has been in use since 1897.

Wonderful video of the whole process.  Lots of belts and gears working together.



Enjoy

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

At Home in the Machine

Saturday, July 20, 2013 0 comments

Wonderful imagery!

I came upon this image quite by accident and thought I would share it.

A wonderfully atmospheric piece by Gilles Tran.
http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/gilles-tran/


You can see many more images by this talented digital artist at http://www.emptykingdom.com/featured/gilles-tran/ and at his website Oyonale

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Human powered helicopter flies!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 0 comments

At last!

While not technically Steampunk, I think this definitely qualifies as being both whimsical and magnificent!

Who hasn't wanted to pedal off into the skies on ones winged penny farthing wot?




The grace and sense of elegant design in action of this enormous yet fragile machine is a palpable demonstration of  the technical creative spirit of Steampunk.

In my humble opinion of course!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Vickers Airship Catalog 1920-22

Monday, July 15, 2013 0 comments

Airships for sale!

This catalog was produced by the Vickers company in Britain in 1920.

What is so interesting about this catalog is that it obviously assumes the existence of a commercial market for airships of all types from small scout and/or personal ones to large military, cargo, and passenger ones. 

This was definitely wishful thinking on the part of the Vickers company in light of sdubsequent history but it is still fascinating to peruse.

Who wouldn't want one of these little gems for a quick Sunday afternoon flight through the countryside.

Small Non-Rigid Airships
  • This Type of Small Airship did very successful service during the War as a Coastal Scout
  • These Airships are very suitable for Naval Scouting and Coast Patrol, and fitted with a Special Type of Car are suitable for Passenger Carrying on a small scale, and also for private or sporting use.
  • Designed Sizes:
                                                       No. 1         No. 2
    Gross Gas Capacity ..    ..    Cubic Feet         70,000       100,000
                                   Cubic Metres        1,960         2,800
    
    Length ..    ..    ..    ..    Feet                  145           170
                                   Metres                 44            52
    
    Maximum diameter   ..    ..    Feet                   30            36
                                   Metres                9.2            11
    
    Maximum Speed      ..    ..    Miles per hour         48            55
                                   Kilometres per hour    77          88.5
    
    Cruising Speed     ..    ..    Miles per hour         40            45
                                   Kilometres per hour    64          72.5
    
    Length of Flight at Cruising   Miles                 200           300
     Speed, allowing 30% Reserve   Kilometres            322           483
     Fuel
    
    No. of Passengers carried                              4             6
    
    
    
  • The Cars are of the Boat type, provided with comfortable Seating accommodation.  

  • -------
    This section on Rigid Airships, thought soon to be available, is what dreams are made of. 
    Imagine ordering one from a catalog!
    ------- 


    Rigid Airships for Commercial Services
  • We advocate the use of Rigid Airships for all Aerial Services necessitating a non-stop run of more than 1,000 miles, and in view of the great developments pending in the use of Airships for Commercial Transport, we have prepared designs for Commercial Rigid Airships of 1,250,000 and 3,500,000 cubic feet capacity
  • (See Plates Nos. 2 and 3)
    Designed Sizes:
                                                     No. 1         No. 2
    Gross Gas Capacity ..    ..    Cubic Feet      1,250,000     3,500,000
                                   Cubic Metres       35,000        98,000
    
    Length ..    ..    ..    ..    Feet                  535           800
                                   Metres                163           244
    
    Maximum diameter and width     Feet                   70           100
                                   Metres               21.3          30.5
    
    Maximum Speed      ..    ..    Miles per hour         65            75
                                   Kilometres per hour   105           121
    
    Cruising Speed     ..    ..    Miles per hour         55            60
                                   Kilometres per hour  88.5          96.5
    
    Suitable non-stop Distance     Miles               1,000         4,000
                                   Kilometres          1,609         6,436
    
    Weight of Passengers and       Tons                    6            15
     Freight carried for above     Kilogrammes         6,096        15,241
     distance
    
    No. of Passengers accommodated                        50           100
    
    
  • These Passenger Airships would be provided with commodious Living and Sleeping Quarters for the Passengers, with all conveniences necessary to ensure the greatest possible comfort and pleasure of travel.
  • Provision would be made to enable the Airships to be moored out to Mooring Towers of Vickers' Patent Type.
  • COMPLETE DESIGNS AND SPECIFICATIONS SUBMITTED TO MEET
    THE SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS OF ANY PROPOSED SERVICE

    This design for a first class passenger ship is interesting because the passenger accommodations were on the top of the hull!

    The full size version of this image is HERE.
     
    You can peruse the entire catalog online here:
    The Vickers Airship Catalog

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    How to make a top hat

    Sunday, July 7, 2013 2 comments

    Brilliant!

    Found this while writing my post on Pinterest boards.

    A nice howto on making a stovepipe style top hat.  The full image can be found here but this is a just a taste to whet yer whistle!


    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    Pinterest Lost in Time...

    0 comments

    In more ways than one!

    Pinterest is an amazing thing.

    I use it to collect Steampunk costume photos the latest of which appear on the sidebar of this blog.

    However as Boromir once said...

    Like YouTube before it one can easily loose many an hour wandering the beautiful, interesting, funny and scary labyrinth that is Pinterest.

    Each board is a collection of "pins" usually photos or images with links to the sources.

    My Pinterest Board is mostly for Steampunk costumes, but there are many many boards that also include gadgets, artwork, jewelery, tattoos, buildings and other exotic bits of Steampunk wonderfulness.

    There are also Pinterest boards dedicated to historical subjects like real Victorian clothing and artifacts, history, and period photos.

    One of my favourite boards is Brenda{SteamCircus.com} which has over 10,000 pins organized into 73 subject groups.
     
    Wandering around here one can easily get lost and spend a very pleasant hour or two.

    Please check it out when you have some time to spend!

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    Interesting quote re Airships from 1912

    Monday, July 1, 2013 0 comments

    The Airship

    Now considered an obsolete and even archaic technology (ha!) was once considered one of the greatest technological advances.

    Fred T Jane's book The British Battle Fleet, has the following interesting quote:

    The possibilities of the dirigible, on the other hand, no man can foresee. the gasbag that can be brought to the ground by a single bullet hole in it, is a very different thing from the possibility of airships of the future which may be a mile or two long, divided into innumerable compartments, filled with non-explosive gas such as is sure to be discovered sooner rather than later. Two miles seems an extraordinary length today, but a ship ten miles long would only be something like the ration of the early dirigible to the future ones compared to the ratio of the Dreadnaughts bear to the first ships built by men.

    On the water, bulk is limited by the depth and size of harbours, but in the vast regions of the air there are practically no limitations whatever, and there is practically nothing to limit size, save the building of land docks on open plains into which airships could descend for repair and so forth. Consequently those who hastily assume from a few accidents that the "lighter than air " craft has no future are probably making a great mistake; at any rate, so far as naval work is concerned.  certain definite uses are apparent even now to those who think and ignore commercial rivalries.
    --Fred T. Jane, The British Battle Fleet, 1912
    What I find most fascinating about this quote, coming as it does at the very end of that amazing history of the warships of the Royal Navy, is the broad simplicity and breathtaking scale of his vision. All through the book he describes the times when new developments were rejected by conservative naval authorities, and ridiculed by pundits and the public, yet ultimately taken up and developed further. And here, at the end, he makes the logical jump to include the airship as one of the next developments that might be in the same boat so to speak. That it ultimately did not become "the next big thing" makes it look a little odd to us, but that is hindsight.

    Writing of the incredible technological changes and scale of the advances in naval technology that had occurred in the previous century, much of it during his lifetime, Jane was well aware of the dangers of making predictions. Yet here he does just that.

    A man after my own heart I think.

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ




    The Winans Cigar Ships 1866

    Sunday, June 30, 2013 0 comments

    A   possible source for Jules Verne's Nautilus.

    Found this article at the fantastic Vernian Era website. I have previously discussed another set of pages from this site in my School of Nautili post.   Michael Crisafulli has collected some wondeful information on various technologies that existed at the time Jules Verne was writing. Many of these were experimental and considered unworkable but they could easily have been used as inspiration by Verne.

    A good example of such a technology was the Cigar Ships that the Winans Family of Baltimore, Maryland, built between 1858 and 1866.

     From the introduction:
    The cigar ships were designed and built by the Winans family, successful railway engineers from Baltimore, Maryland who moved into marine engineering with enthusiasm and great expenditures of their family wealth, but less success.  Their radical marine design concept included an ultra-streamlined spindle-shaped hull with minimum superstructure.

    The Winans constructed at least four ships between 1858 and 1866.  Two of these attracted considerable public attention as well as skepticism and outright criticism from the technical establishment.  Ross Winans and his sons were, first and foremost, engineers experimenting with innovative concepts.  The innovative technology would certainly have attracted Jules Verne's attention.  He may well have seen one of the boats sailing or berthed in England.  Some of their innovations were adopted for surface ships in the twentieth century, and many of the pioneer submarines built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century resembled them.  Later in the twentieth century, aerodynamicists rediscovered the benefits of the spindle.

    The site discusses the history of these odd vessels and many of the design problems that the Winans had to overcome.

    The final ship built using this design was the yacht Ross Winans built in 1866.
    From the website:
    Ross Winans reconstruction - click for a 3-D viewThe Winans launched their final effort in 1866 in London.  The Ross Winans was 256 feet long with the same 16-foot diameter as their first boat and displaced about 400 tons.  It did have a nearly conventional superstructure atop the hull amidships, 130 feet long and ten feet wide, tapering to a point at each end.  Inverting the first design, it was driven by a 22-foot diameter propeller at each end.  These nine-bladed props were powered by an engine room amidships.   The Ross Winans underwent trials in the Solent channel but made no more than one or two coastal voyages, never going to sea in earnest. 
    The woodcut at right, from The Illustrated London News, 3 Mar 1866, shows the stern-first launching of the Ross Winans.  The propeller mounts are visible, but the propellers have not yet been installed.
    The launching of the Ross Winans at Millwall

     
    Highly recommended reading this!

    Check out the full article at: The Winans Cigar Ships

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    More from "The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette" 1860

    Wednesday, June 19, 2013 0 comments

    A Guide for Gentlemen
    This section covers the thorny issue of how to behave at plays and musical venues taken from:
    THE GENTLEMEN’S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE, AND MANUAL OF POLITENESS


     ETIQUETTE FOR PLACES OF AMUSEMENT.

    When you wish to invite a lady to accompany you to the theatre, opera, a concert, or any other public place of amusement, send the invitation the day previous to the one selected for taking her, and write it in the third person. If it is the first time you have invited her, include her mother, sister, or some other lady in the invitation.
    If she accepts your invitation, let it be your next care to secure good seats, for it is but a poor compliment to invite a lady to go to the opera, and put her in an uncomfortable seat, where she can neither hear, see, nor be seen.

    Although, when alone, you will act a courteous part in giving your seat to a strange lady, who is standing, in a crowded concert room, you should not do so when you are with a lady. By giving up your place beside her, you may place a lady next her, whom she will find an unpleasant companion, and you are yourself separated from her, when the conversation between the acts makes one of the greatest pleasures of an evening spent in this way. In case of accident, too, he deprives her of his protection, and gives her the appearance of having come alone. Your first duty, when you are escorting a lady, is to that lady before all others.

    When you are with a lady at a place of amusement, you must not leave your seat until you rise to escort her home. If at the opera, you may invite her to promenade between the acts, but if she declines, do you too remain in your seat.

    Let all your conversation be in a low tone, not whispered, nor with any air of mystery, but in a tone that will not disturb those seated near you.

    Any lover-like airs or attitudes, although you may have the right to assume them, are in excessively bad taste in public.

    If the evening you have appointed be a stormy one, you must call for your companion with a carriage, and this is the more elegant way of taking her even if the weather does not make it absolutely necessary.

    When you are entering a concert room, or the box of a theatre, walk before your companion up the aisle, until you reach the seats you have secured, then turn, offer your hand to her, and place her in the inner seat, taking the outside one yourself; in going out, if the aisle is too narrow to walk two abreast, you again precede your companion until you reach the lobby, where you turn and offer your arm to her.

    Loud talking, laughter, or mistimed applause, are all in very bad taste, for if you do not wish to pay strict attention to the performance, those around you probably do, and you pay but a poor compliment to your companion in thus implying her want of interest in what she came to see.

    "The British Battle Fleet" 1912

    Monday, June 17, 2013 0 comments

    Huzzah!

    This monumental, 400 page, work was originally published in 1912 (and republished in 2003 by Conway Classics in the UK.) Written by Fred T. Jane, the founder of the influential Jane's series of military books and annual digests, this book chronicles the history of the British Battle Fleet, and the Royal Navy itself. From it's earliest days in the early medieval period, through the tumultuous 18th century and the massive technological changes of the 19th centuries and up to the massive scale and power of the British Fleets before WWI.

    For anybody interested in the history of ships and the men who commanded and sailed them this is an absolute treasure. 

    My copy is the 1912 edition and is in very good condition, given it's over a hundred years old! 

    The book has many illustrations, some in colour, taken from paintings in the early years and photos of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

    There are lots of technical diagrams of deck and gun layouts after steam propulsion is introduced as well.

    The first half of the book is an interesting history, covering much of the politics as well as the military actions of the early days of the Royal Navy. Jane covers many of the social and political issues in some detail, quoting from period sources when available. He covers the Great Mutinies at Spithead and the Nore in 1797 and discusses many of the causes and results of them on the subsequent social changes in ships crews.

    He covers the period of the almost continuous warfare with France with lots of detail. That section alone is a treasure for anyone interested in what ships and fleets did what.

    The second half of the book covers the period from the first introduction of steam propulsion to the development of  the "All Big Gun" Dreadnaught and all her subsequent, handsome and very lethal, kin.

    Fred Jane has a good eye for the historical anecdote, as well as the technical detail he displayed in his original monographs covering the state of the world's navies since his first "All the World's Fighting Ships" of 1898 .  Jane is also not shy about making some sage predictions as to how the future would look given all the technological changes that had occurred in his own lifetime. Some of them turned out to be spectacularly wrong (entertaining none the less) and others prescient indeed, as the great cataclysm of WWI subsequently showed.


    I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in the developments of the Battle Fleet from both a technical and social/political standpoint.

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    Title
    The British Battle-Fleet
    Its inception & growth throughout the centuries.

    Author
    Fred T. Jane

    Date
    1912

    Publisher
    S.W. Partridge & Co,., LTD. (1912)
    London
    Conway Maritime Press (2003)

    ISBN
    978-0851777238

    How to Write a Telegram Properly 1928

    Wednesday, June 12, 2013 0 comments

    The wonders of modern telegraphy stop

    This interesting document is a style guide for composing telegrams.

    It was written in 1928 by Nelson E Ross and covers the then common practices associated with making sure that telegrams were being used efficiently.

    "HOW TO WRITE TELEGRAMS PROPERLY"

     There is a lot of good information here on how to write telegrams efficiently and concisely. This was important since transmission of a telegram was charged by the word. There is also some good information on ways encrypt the transmission to save costs and insure security.

    Here are some interesting examples:

    How to Save Words -- Naturally, there is a right way and a wrong way of wording telegrams. The right way is economical, the wrong way, wasteful. If the telegram is packed full of unnecessary words, words which might be omitted without impairing the sense of the message, the sender has been guilty of economic waste. Not only has he failed to add anything to his message, but he has slowed it up by increasing the time necessary to transmit it. He added to the volume of traffic from a personal and financial point of view, he has been wasteful because he has spent more for his telegram than was necessary. In the other extreme, he may have omitted words necessary to the sense, thus sacrificing clearness in his eagerness to save a few cents.

    If you are telegraphing the home folks that you expect to arrive on the 20th for that long planned visit, spell it out "twentieth." Two words are saved. The telegraph companies have nothing to sell but service. They undertake to transmit your message from point to point, speedily, accurately and secretly. The cheapest way of handling that message is invariably the safest way, and your cooperation is welcomed by the companies. When groups of figures are spelled out, the chance of an error in transmission is reduced to a minimum.

    This apparently insignificant fact often is disregarded by users of the telegraph. Considered from the point of view of economy alone, the question of figures in telegrams is interesting. Any group of figures can be written out so that from two to three words are saved each time the group is used. Take for example the expression "one million." Written "one million" It counts two words. Written 1,000,000, the total count is seven words, and if the commas are to be sent also, the count is nine.
    The suffixes "th," "rd," or "nd" appended to figures are counted as additional words. When the figures are spelled out, as in "fourth," "third," or "second," the count is automatically reduced.

    How to Write Figures -- The following table illustrates the principles just set forth:
    1st (two words) -- first (one word)
    2nd (two words) -- second (one word)
    3rd (two words) -- third (one word)
    100 (three words) -- one hundred (two words)
    1000 (four words) -- one thousand (two words)
    1,0000 (five words) -- ten thousand (two words) etc

    How Unnecessary Words Creep In -- To paraphrase, "Brevity is the soul of telegraphy." Except perhaps in the case of a long Night Letter, the practice of adding such words as "Dear Madam." or "Dear Sir," at the beginning of the message, is obsolete. This likewise applies to such phrases as "Yours very truly," "Yours sincerely," etc., commonly used in closing a letter. These words are charged for, and so accustomed is the public to telegraphic brevity, that their use often produces amusement rather than the expression of formality which the sender desired.
    When telegrams are received without the well known title of "Mr." do not censure the sender as lacking in respect. To insure accuracy in transmission the title is omitted lest through inadvertence it should be confused with "Mrs." or "Miss." "Esquire" also is dropped in transmission.

    An entertaining and useful little pamphlet that can help you add some telegraphic style to your next email.

    KEEP YOUR SIGHTGLASS FULL YOUR FIREBOX TRIMMED AND YOUR WATER ICED STOP

    Steampunk Train Battleship

    Friday, June 7, 2013 0 comments

    Battleship on rails!

    This video shows the first live steam powered trial of  the Steampunk Rail Battleship Barnum's Dream.



    From YouTube:

    Published on Apr 14, 2013
    Battleship train ship model with cannons and lasers that fire. It has many handmade moving parts that are driven by a live steam engine. The video is a depiction of it's first trial run, with some animation and effects thrown in. It was made from over 50 found parts and took over 2500 hours to construct. Except for the steam engine, which was modified, it is totally hand built using ordinary home tools.
    It is almost four feet tall and 51 inches long. Hope you enjoy.
     You can get lots of information on the model and how it was built at the blog here:
    Steampunk Machine "Barnum's Dream"

    Now that is my kind of model!

    keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    Uniform Bits and Pieces

    Wednesday, June 5, 2013 0 comments

    Uniforms!

    This site has an amazing amount of British Victorian era uniforms available.
    Definitely worth checking out.
    I have not purchased anything from them so I would be interested in haring from anybody who has.
    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

     The Victorian   Strollers
    Uniforms and Accoutrements of The British Army
    throughout the Empire of Queen Victoria.
    Britain and the Colonies

    "Steam Powered USB drive"

    Saturday, June 1, 2013 0 comments

    Sort of.
    This is a noisy, but very cool device for carrying all those pdfs of old books and manuals around.



    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    "Transatlantic" by Stephen Fox

    Thursday, May 30, 2013 0 comments

    Ocean Liners.

    Those symbols of technical prowess, financial power and human foibles. There are names that conjure the increasing power and magnificence of steam; Cunard, White Star, Inman and Brunel. There are also names that remind us of our arrogance and vulnerability when we pit ourselves against the power that is the North Atlantic; Titanic, Atlantic, Arctic.

    This fantastic book by Stephen Fox captures the history of the "Ocean Geyhounds" with lots of details about the technical changes in the ships as well as the development of their opulence and the effect of the changing world of the 19th Century and early 20th Century.

    Filled with anecdotes and quotes from many of the early promoters, voyagers and crews of these technical marvels, the book gives us a feel for the passage across that stormiest of great seas. Rivaling even the dreaded Cape Horn for the ferocity of its storms, with the added dangers of fogs, icebergs, and congested fishing grounds, these machines carried their passengers, rich and poor alike, across in all weathers and all seasons.

    From the Introduction:

    During the nineteenth century, the roughest but most important ocean passage in the world lay between Britain and the United States. Bridging the Atlantic Ocean by steamship was a defining, remarkable feat of the era. Over time, Atlantic steamships became the largest, most complex machines yet devised. They created a new transatlantic world of commerce and travel, reconciling former Anglo-American enemies and bringing millions of emigrants who transformed the United States.
    I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in both the technical and social history of transatlantic travel.

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    Title
    Transatlantic
    Samuel Cunard, Isambard Brunel,
    and the Great Atlantic Steamships


    Author
    Stephen Fox

    Date
    2003

    Publisher
    Harper Collins
    New York

    ISBN 0-06-095549-X


    Victoria Steam Expo IV May 31- June 2 2013

    Tuesday, May 28, 2013 0 comments

    Awesome!

    The fourth annual Victoria Steam Expo will be held in Victoria British Columbia in a couple of weeks.

    This is Canada's premiere Steampunk event check it out!

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    Victoria Steam Expo IV

    Scavenger-hunt in Darkened Alleys, Secret Lodges, The Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes, Steampunk Beer Launch, Burlesque Diva Lydia DeCarllo, and More!

    The premiere steampunk event in the Dominion of Canada is back for a fourth year in Victoria, British Columbia. Where previous years have been encased in palaces of cut-crystal and gleaming brass, this year it's the gritty back-alleys of the 19th century colonial capital which are brought to the fore – after-hours corners and upstairs dives where the paths of explorers and inventors cross with those of airship scoundrels & duplicitous courtesans.
    The weekend is wrapped around Alleyways: An Alternative Reality Game / scavenger hunt specially designed for this event  – sending the braver of attendees through brick alleys, half-forgotten nooks, and opulent lodges of secret societies in pursuit of treasure-unlocking puzzle-clues.  At the Exposition's old-brick 1909 headquarters there will be merchants, outfitters, panels, artists and authors, speakers and performers, history lections, and craft activities for families.

    FRIDAY:

    The Weekend kicks off with Friday Night Reception at the 1885 Bard & Banker, with a history lecture of Victoria's seedy underbelly presented by Chris Adams of Ghostly Walks. Hear the real story of Her Majesty's colonial capital with tales of murder, madness, arson and opium.

    SATURDAY:

    On Saturday, we switch venues to the 1909 old brick Victoria Event Centre: set in the dark heart of a labyrinth of storied alleys of the capital's Old Town. Speakers, panelists, merchants, booksellers, artists and artisans will all be on hand to display, discuss and trade in wares.  Saturday morning will see the briefing of the scavenger hunt, and teams will be presented with their initial "rabbit holes."
    We are proud to announce there will be an exhibition of Bartitsu – the  authentic 19th century mixed martial art of Sherlock Holmes – presented by Vancouver's David McCormick of Academy Duello.
    Saturday evening Longwood Brewery presents the 19+ Steampunk Cabaret Burlesque, a costume ball and raucous dance suited for this year's theme of discretion, decadence, deviousness & debauchery. Vancouver Burlesque star Lydia DeCarllo will tease and titillate, followed by the riotous Folk Glam Gypsy Marching Band Bucan Bucan in celebration of the launch of Vancouver Island's very own Steampunk Beer.

    SUNDAY:

    More presentations, final round and prizes for the scavenger hunt, family craft activities and the fashion show!

    Experiments in Steam Lift Part 1

    Sunday, May 26, 2013 0 comments

    Science!

    As you know if you have been reading my Practical Airship Design series, the airship I am describing/designing uses low pressure steam as the lift gas. While not anywhere near as powerful a lift agent as Hydrogen or Helium it has several advantages that I have discussed in that series here and here.

    I have decided to do a some quick experiments for myself to see how steam worked as a lift gas. Nothing fancy really just a quick check on how steam behaves at low pressure in an enclosed space like our airship's lift bags.

    In order to test this I needed a few items:

    1) A source of low pressure steam of fairly large volume.
    2) An envelope to contain the steam.

    For the Steam source I decided to use a small 1/2 liter electric kettle, one that has no automatic shutoff just a whistle to tell when it is boiling. It would keep boiling until it was dry if I let it.

    I thought finding an envelope would be a bit tricky as it has to be light enough to show if there was any lift available, but not be too sensitive to the temperature of the steam (100c at sea level of course but about 98C at our elevation). I wasn't sure how most light weight materials would handle the heat.

    The lightest materials I had on hand were Safeway shopping bags and green garbage bags. These are plastic of course so I was concerned that they would potentially be damaged by the steam. Easiest way to test was to put a chunk of each in boiling water and see what happened.

    Making sure my wife was out of the kitchen smile I filled a saucepan with water and got it boiling furiously on the stove. Then I immersed the samples, and after a few minutes I found that surprisingly they were completely unaffected! They didn't stretch or show any signs of being softened by the boiling water. They also didn't seem to give off any smell as a result of being boiled (so I escaped the kitchen and my wife unscathed). I decided to use these as the test envelopes for my lift experiment.

    The first "proof of concept" experiment was to simply fill a shopping bag with steam from the kettle and see what happens. Anybody who has blown air into a shopping bag with a fan knows that the bag will expand as the air is pushed into it. In my case I wanted to see if the steam was doing any lifting not just expanding the envelope by pressure. How to do that?

    The trick is to leave the bottom of the bag open to the atmosphere. That insures that there can be no over pressure inside the bag to hold it up. If the bag stays "inflated" even when it is open at the base then the inflation must be the result of the lift from the steam.

    I fired up the kettle in the back yard and when it was boiling I placed the shopping bag over the kettle. I collapsed the bag into a long package first to exclude as much air as possible. As the steam beagn to flow the bag began to fill and lift the surface until it was nearly inflated! The bottom was open and the steam was not coming out of the bottom yet, which showed that there was no pressure building up in the bag.

    I expected to see a lot of condensation of the steam on the surface of the bag, but there was very little during the few minutes of my test.

    Next I did the same thing with the green garbage bag. This showed the same behaviour, the bag filled and extended even with the bottom open to the air. The garbage bag is much bigger of course and it was able to hold itself up by the lift of the steam. While I was doing this a slight breeze came up which kept collapsing the bag so I was not able to fully inflate it.

    Again there was very little condensation on the inner surface of the bag. I'm not sure why that is unless the bag, by heating up to nearly the temperature of the steam, prevents much condensation.

    My next set of experiments should be interesting.  I will try the garbage bag again inside and see if there is sufficient lift to actually lift the bag from the ground! I will also measure the temperatures of the bag surface and the steam inside. Allowing the bag to cool by removing it from the kettle will show how fast the steam condenses.

    Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    On gadgets...

    Wednesday, May 22, 2013 0 comments

    Everybody likes gadgets!
    Steampunk has lots of gadgets. Machine like objects that appear to have some kind of use. Festooned with pipes, gauages, gears, wires levers and springs. In polished brass and copper, and tooled leather and varnished wood.

    Some are elegant works of art like this clock by Roger Wood.

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/113732228/iphone-5-dock-ipod-dock-new-lighting
    These elegant Steampunk iPod stands are decorative holders for real technological objects.

    I love the IDEA of such gadgets and objects, they liven up our surroundings and give us a sense that maybe our Steampunk worlds can be real. BUT these objects are really a pastiche, which Wikipedia defines as:
    A work of art, literature, film, music or architecture that closely imitates the work of a previous artist, usually distinguished from parody in the sense that it celebrates rather than mocks the work it imitates
    These objects do not DO anything, yes the clocks run and the iPods work, but all the geegaws around them don't do anything except look cool.  I'm a technical kind of guy, as you no doubt have noticed, and I can't help trying to make sense of these objects. It's as if the technical side of my brain really wants all the decorations to actually work.

    Take a gear train for example, often used by Steampunks as a decorative treatment on T-shirts, phone cases and letterhead. I always start to follow the gears around, seeing which one turns which way and when I see that the gears would be locked up there is almost a jarring sense of disappointment. The same goes for following pipes and gauges and wires.

    It's not that I think all this decoration should be functional of course since it is simply a gloss put on for effect. Of course there is nothing wrong with that.  They are pastiches in the sense that they mimic the real elegance of form following function that Victorian machinery and gadgets have. Those real objects are the inspiration for our gadgets and even when their function is not obvious they still look like they could be functional. 
     
    I have never been successful building such gadgets myself, mainly because I can't escape the feeling that the layout should somehow work. I am in awe of artists like Roger Wood who can build such beautiful objects and successfully pull off the decoration. And even though I will always try to figure out if all the bits fit together it doesn't change the fact that these gadgets are stylish objet d'art and definitely brighten up or Steampunk worlds. 

     Keep you sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ

    "100 Hints on Gentlemanly Deportment" 1860

    Friday, May 17, 2013 0 comments

    A guide for gentlemen.
    This guide is excerpted from:

    THE GENTLEMEN’S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE, AND MANUAL OF POLITENESS;
    by Cecil B. Hartley, published in 1860 in Boston.

    This book has tons of interesting information on how a "Gentleman" should behave. Everything from dress and wedding etiquette to letter writing and how to behave at public "amusements".  While much of this seems quaint in today's free and easy world, I think we would do well to remember that many of these rules were necessary in the crowded pedestrian cities of the 19th century.

    The One Hundred Hints below have some insights into what it means to be a Gentlemen regardless of what one's station in society was.  I have copied the whole section for ease of reference so my apologies for the length.
    Enjoy

    Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
    KJ 

    ONE HUNDRED HINTS FOR GENTLEMANLY DEPORTMENT.

    1. Always avoid any rude or boisterous action, especially when in the presence of ladies. It is not necessary to be stiff, indolent, or sullenly silent, neither is perfect gravity always required, but if you jest let it be with quiet, gentlemanly wit, never depending upon clownish gestures for the effect of a story. Nothing marks the gentleman so soon and so decidedly as quiet, refined ease of manner.

    2. Never allow a lady to get a chair for herself, ring a bell, pick up a handkerchief or glove she may have dropped, or, in short, perform any service for herself which you can perform for her, when you are in the room. By extending such courtesies to your mother, sisters, or other members of your family, they become habitual, and are thus more gracefully performed when abroad.

    3. Never perform any little service for another with a formal bow or manner as if conferring a favor, but with a quiet gentlemanly ease as if it were, not a ceremonious, unaccustomed performance, but a matter of course, for you to be courteous.

    4. It is not necessary to tell all that you know; that{187} were mere folly; but what a man says must be what he believes himself, else he violates the first rule for a gentleman’s speech—Truth.

    5. Avoid gambling as you would poison. Every bet made, even in the most finished circles of society, is a species of gambling, and this ruinous crime comes on by slow degrees. Whilst a man is minding his business, he is playing the best game, and he is sure to win. You will be tempted to the vice by those whom the world calls gentlemen, but you will find that loss makes you angry, and an angry man is never a courteous one; gain excites you to continue the pursuit of the vice; and, in the end you will lose money, good name, health, good conscience, light heart, and honesty; while you gain evil associates, irregular hours and habits, a suspicious, fretful temper, and a remorseful, tormenting conscience. Some one must lose in the game; and, if you win it, it is at the risk of driving a fellow creature to despair.

    6. Cultivate tact! In society it will be an invaluable aid. Talent is something, but tact is everything. Talent is serious, sober, grave, and respectable; tact is all that and more too. It is not a sixth sense, but it is the life of all the five. It is the open eye, the quick ear, the judging taste, the keen smell, and the lively touch; it is the interpreter of all riddles—the surmounter of all difficulties—the remover of all obstacles. It is useful in all places, and at all times; it is useful in solitude, for it shows a man his way into the world; it is useful in society, for it shows him his way through the world. Talent is power—tact is skill; talent is weight—tact is momentum; talent knows what to do—tact knows how to do it;{188} talent makes a man respectable—tact will make him respected; talent is wealth—tact is ready money. For all the practical purposes of society tact carries against talent ten to one.

    7. Nature has left every man a capacity of being agreeable, though all cannot shine in company; but there are many men sufficiently qualified for both, who, by a very few faults, that a little attention would soon correct, are not so much as tolerable. Watch, avoid such faults.

    8. Habits of self-possession and self-control acquired early in life, are the best foundation for the formation of gentlemanly manners. If you unite with this the constant intercourse with ladies and gentlemen of refinement and education, you will add to the dignity of perfect self command, the polished ease of polite society.

    9. Avoid a conceited manner. It is exceedingly ill-bred to assume a manner as if you were superior to those around you, and it is, too, a proof, not of superiority but of vulgarity. And to avoid this manner, avoid the foundation of it, and cultivate humility. The praises of others should be of use to you, in teaching, not what you are, perhaps, but in pointing out what you ought to be.

    10. Avoid pride, too; it often miscalculates, and more often misconceives. The proud man places himself at a distance from other men; seen through that distance, others, perhaps, appear little to him; but he forgets that this very distance causes him also to appear little to others.

    11. A gentleman’s title suggests to him humility and affability; to be easy of access, to pass by neglects and{189} offences, especially from inferiors; neither to despise any for their bad fortune or misery, nor to be afraid to own those who are unjustly oppressed; not to domineer over inferiors, nor to be either disrespectful or cringing to superiors; not standing upon his family name, or wealth, but making these secondary to his attainments in civility, industry, gentleness, and discretion.

    12. Chesterfield says, “All ceremonies are, in themselves, very silly things; but yet a man of the world should know them. They are the outworks of manners, which would be too often broken in upon if it were not for that defence which keeps the enemy at a proper distance. It is for that reason I always treat fools and coxcombs with great ceremony, true good breeding not being a sufficient barrier against them.”

    13. When you meet a lady at the foot of a flight of stairs, do not wait for her to ascend, but bow, and go up before her.

    14. In meeting a lady at the head of a flight of stairs, wait for her to precede you in the descent.

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