Collectors Spring for Steampunk

Steampunk mechanical objects are popping up more and more at various exhibitions.

The term, Steampunk, describes a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam, gear, and coil- spring powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century, or a post apocalyptic environment.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social network might enjoy using the "Victorian" laptop computer shown here, or watching today's Featured Video.

Steampunk works are often set in an alternate history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has regained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Electricity is usually absent.

The movement most recognizably features anachronistic technologies or retro-futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have envisioned them, and is likewise rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art.

Above all, steampunk design emphasizes a balance between form and function.

Like the Arts and Crafts Movement, this blurs the line between tool and decoration. Various modern utilitarian objects have been modified by enthusiasts into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style.

The goal of such redesigns is to employ appropriate materials (such as polished brass, iron, wood, and leather) with design elements and craftsmanship consistent with the Victorian era, rejecting the aesthetic of industrial design.

Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or the modern authors Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, and China Mieville.

Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of such technology as lighter-than-air airships or digital mechanical computers.

Steampunk may also incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction, making it often a hybrid genre.

Historical Development

The term steampunk originated during the 1980s and early 1990s, though now retroactively refers to many works of fiction created even as far back as the 19th century itself.

Although many works now considered seminal to the genre were published in the 1960s and 1970s, the term steampunk originated in the late 1980s as a tongue in cheek variant of cyberpunk.

It seems to have been coined by science fiction author K. W. Jeter, who was trying to find a general term for works which took place in a 19th-century (usually Victorian) setting and imitated conventions of such actual Victorian speculative fiction as H. G. Wells' The Time Machine.

The most common historical steampunk settings are the Victorian and Edwardian eras, though some in this "Victorian steampunk" category can go as early as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Some cinematic examples of this type include the movie based on the comic book series, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the Disney animated film Atlantis: The Lost Empire.