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Romance, power, danger — what’s not to love about a 40-foot stern-wheel paddleboat driven by a boiler full of steam?

Stoked by the gang at Kinetic Steam Works, the good ship Wilhelmina is great fun to watch, with its churning red paddles, locomotive linkages, and piercing steam whistles. In the past KSW has exhibited giant steam tractors and cool belt-driven contraptions from the 19th century, but this newly restored vessel is even more appealing. Wilhelmina is currently entertaining Maker Faire goers of all stripes, from steampunk anachronists to power-mad engineers. Look for it in the West Lot, and if you’re lucky you can climb aboard, so wear your good corset, or your Mark Twain mustache, or both.

Watch carefully and you’ll see a smaller steam-powered dory in the background … at least I think it’s a dory.

Keith Hammond

I’m projects editor of MAKE magazine.


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