Hardware

Steampunk: A way of life for some designers

Victorian all-in-one

Lots of people think of steampunk as hobby, but for some designers it is an art form that translates into a way of life. For steampunk artist Jake von Slatt, steampunking modern computers is a way to make functional art.

Photo courtesy of Jake von Slatt.

Check out another TechRepublic gallery that features Mr. von Slatt's work: Mod your computer keyboard, steampunk style.

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Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

34 comments
bkfriesen
bkfriesen

This reminds of the tech in the Terry Gilliam movie, Brazil. What an awesome look. The keyboards are especially striking.

myanalunas
myanalunas

A very gifted artist! These particular pieces remind me of some elements of the show "Warehouse 13". thanks for sharing this unusual art form with us.

fairportfan
fairportfan

DOn't know if anyone has mentioned this (haven't got time to check all comments), but Higo-winning SF?Fantasy cartoonist Phil Foglio and wife Kaja have an incredibly rich and long-running steampunk graphic novel/webcomic (new pages MWF) called "Girl Genius": http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

The thing about visual steampunk is that while most of the components may be mass-produced (nuts, bolts, moldings), most of the assemblies are not.

cccgsmith
cccgsmith

This may expose my tendency to be naive, but are these working PCs???

codesNstuff
codesNstuff

I absolutely love these computers and keyboards. I had no idea that people made them this way. I collect antique furniture and these are gorgeous artworks.

Azathoth
Azathoth

You can see several Steampunk computer items in use on Warehouse 13 on the SyFy Channel.

lestaab
lestaab

I love Steam Punk. This is a great example of creative Steam Punk design. Larry Staab

The Anti-Emeril
The Anti-Emeril

Very, very cool creations. The article, including the photo captions seemed almost to be plugging the term "steampunk" as much as exploring the actual functional art.I wonder if there are other artist/technicians designing and building similar themed objects under a different, less ridiculous name? I have no problem creating a new term, but why "steampunk? I get the "steam" reference to earlier technology, but what has "punk" got to do with this style or genre? Isn't punk philosophy about undisciplined, angry, profane, near-violent self expression? From what I can see of these elegant creations, they are anything but "punk".

joel
joel

Maybe this is how computers would look like is they were invented in our late 1800s

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

The pointer in particular. It doesn't appear it would work very well for mouse-intensive games, but you never know...

staffordd
staffordd

Totally awesome, brilliant, beautiful, creative. I WANT ONE ! d.

moorel
moorel

Love! Love! Love!

mckinnej
mckinnej

Amazing workmanship. Beautiful! Makes me want some. :)

paul.ob.tech
paul.ob.tech

Brazil was more of a 30's mixed with 80's feel. But definately in the same vein, really loved the big magnifiers for the 5"screens

santeewelding
santeewelding

Mr. Nielsen; living, breathing steampunk; blend of the old and the new.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

if you've never been exposed to steampunk before. The answer is "Yes."

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

I watched one episode and didn't like it, but I thought it was S01E01 and it couldn't have been because there was backstory I obviously had missed. Maybe a 2 hour pilot episode? The only good thing about the episode I watched was that Tricia Helfer was in it. I've also decided as of Warehouse 13 that I am officially done with the long, drawn-out subplot of the good-looking male and female who are working together and consistently deny their feelings towards each other. I want the next series to start off with, "Hey, baby, let's get it on right now and remove this silly sexual tension. Then we can get on with the show and the real plot!"

MUNHALLCOOK
MUNHALLCOOK

who cares what you call it their just beautiful works of art that also has functionality wish i could afford them

occiced
occiced

The term Steampunks was coined by Science Fiction Author K.W. Jeter referring to the people in Victorian fantasy novels. As in his sequel to H.G. Wells Time Machine, Morlock Night. Punk meaning they were different than the other people. Perhaps a you may prefer the less popular term "Retrotronics".

wallacee
wallacee

Steampunk is not a new term invented for this article. It was coined in 1987 by a relatively minor science-fiction writer to describe the works of three authors who were writing stories and novels using Jules Verne/H. G. Wells style technology. The term was picked up in gaming circles, particularly fans of a game called Space 1889. Cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson gave a boost to the fiction genre by co-authoring the novel "The Difference Enginge" featuring Babbage's concept of a steam-powered computer. The visual style was established as a pop culture phenomenon by the movies "Wild Wild west" and especially "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," both of which drew heavily on 90's science fiction illustrators. That's why "steampunk." Now, why is Art Deco called Art Deco?

santeewelding
santeewelding

They are a profane finger to what passes for new-age "elegance".

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

is an app to reformat all web content into sepia print! And with 1900-s industrial advertising fonts. That would so rock... oh wait, anachronism... that would so rag!

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

I'm quite surprised that nobody has picked up the Steampunk theme and run with it for a movie (aside from the background elements in Hellboy and the League of Extrodinary Gentlemen - there may be others - enlighten me if there are). It intrigues so many people. If I had the backing, I'd be pursuing Girl Genius for the movie rights!

MyopicOne
MyopicOne

...one of those keyboards. Sweet!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Neovernian... but that's too compact. Retrowellsian too. yawehtybnupsemoheraesoht Did Arcanum ever get a sequel?

bergenfx
bergenfx

then I read yours. I'll say what he's sayin' ... rocks with a water back.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

The Fabulous World of Jules Verne, Time After Time, Nausica? of the Valley of the Wind, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, The City of Lost Children, Wild Wild West, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Metropolis, Vidocq, Turn A Gundam, Howl's Moving Castle, Steamboy, Van Helsing, The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello, The Prestige, Sherlock Holmes, Sky Captain and the World of Tommorrow (elements of steampunk mixed with WWII genre), The Golden Compass. Obviously one of the better examples of steampunk influence on television at this time is Warehouse 13.

aandruli
aandruli

Seems that when author K.W. Jeter was trying to describe "steampunk" style works of fiction, he was at a loss for words and used a modification of the word "cyberpunk". The term stuck although nearly everyone admits the "punk" part doesn't really fit.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Or whatever it was... that seems more like "steamsploitation" to me, but what the hey. Hm, I wonder if there's a version of SH out there where the "we're dealing with a madman" -line makes sense.

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

Ah yes, I keep forgetting Wild Wild West, and I really need to see SH again because I can't remember ANYTHING about it. Wasn't there a steampunk-esque movie with Angelina Jolie as well? Didn't see it but I remember seeing ads for it.