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

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  • ...their everyday clothes are several decades out of date.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.
  • 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.

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.

Our Airship!

Sunday, August 18, 2013 0 comments


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  
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.

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!


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

Advice on Business from 1860

Friday, August 2, 2013 0 comments

More from

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

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.”

About Gears, Goggles, and Steam oh My!

Here I collect interesting bits of information related to the world of Steampunk.

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