Steampunk has jumped the shark

Craft & Design

I stole this post title and all from Tiffany of Curious Goods.

26 thoughts on “Steampunk has jumped the shark

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t like to see blue leds or lasers on “steampunk” themed props.

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      To be fair, the toilet’s creator wants to call it “TeslaPunk,” which is supposed to be somehow different. Still don’t see how lasers and LEDs are quite in keeping…

  2. sinless says:

    I really think the term “jumped the shark” has done itself in with overuse. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the shark will eat it.

    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      Are you trying to say that jumping the shark has boned the fish? :)

  3. Nate says:

    Heck no. He could have saved some effort and used a wooden or faux-wooden one. “Brass” is just TOO COLD to sit on. Icky Icky.

    Also…laser pointer? WTF?

    Le Sigh.

  4. Stunmonkey says:

    Steampunk technically never truly jumped the shark, only because it never hit any pinnacle of achievement first before degenerating into irrelevancy.

    It has ALWAYS been badly implemented hideous crap mired in irrelevancy.

    Truly cool aesthetic that deserved its day in the sun, with brilliant potential in the right hands, it never hit it’s stride. It never had a chance.
    Mangled and butchered as it was from infancy, and infested with cosplayers with glue guns, what good could survive?

  5. Garrett says:

    Stunmonkey: the steampunk keyboard.

  6. Simon says:

    I am not sure blue LEDs looked cool on anything. Ever! I was in a car audio place (looking at alarms, not stereos – I like to hear my tappets) and almost every head unit there had blue LEDs on it. Gah, truly awful!

  7. cjc15153 says:

    Stunmonkey is correct. I understand the fascination with the naive aesthetic of Victorian industrial design, attempts to emulate that naivety are almost by definition doomed to pretentious crappitude.

    The steampunk keyboard is well done because it looks like a computer keyboard made 100+ years ago would look: no voltage meters or vacuum tubes or faux pneumatic pipes running all over it.

    We know exactly what toilets looked like 100 years ago- they looked like this one except for the stuff that makes it steampunk.

  8. Barking Mad Wednesday says:

    Wow, my dear gentles, the level of disdain and disgust is palpable and frankly, dismaying. I’m sorry our pretendy fun time games don’t meet with your aesthetic standards. I hope that whatever you do for your own personal edification gives you great joy and satisfaction, that it might wash away the bitterness in your heart.

    Feel free to ignore us while we’re off having the time of our lives in our riveted copper space ships, shooting at airship pirates with our blunderbuss ray guns. We’ll lift a test tube full of the finest copper tube distilled spirits at the end of the day in toast to you and your ‘disapproving rabbit disapproves’ frownie faces.

    And don’t let all the lacy petticoats hit you in the face on the way out. ~blows kisses~

    1. AndyL says:

      What bugs me about this, is that from the point of view of pseudo-victorian sci-fi, it doesn’t make sense.

      Airships, Sure! Spaceships, Even Better! But toilets?

      The Victorians knew how to make toilets, so what’s the story behind this one? What do all the do-dads *do* that make this better than your average toilet?

      Because that’s what fantasy is all about: Stories. A little bit of brass or wood doesn’t make a story. That’s what’s missing here. There’s no narrative. You don’t need words to tell a story. A good, artistic prop tells a story. It tells a story of how it was made, what it’s good for and who would use it and why.

      Would Tesla have made a crazy, mad scientist toilet? Maybe. But he wouldn’t have done it for no reason. Heck, even comic book characters like Agatha Heterodyne don’t go around adding brass to things for no reason!

      You want to make a good steampunk, mad scientist toilet? Here’s how!

      – First: Think of something that toilets don’t do. (Play music, for example.)
      – Second: Consider, at least roughly, how that could be accomplished with “steampunk” technology. (Player-piano rolls, and an elaborate system of bells and whistles.)
      – Third, Make a toilet that looks like it does that. (Feel free to incorporate a hidden mp3 player.) Ideally it should be based on real 19th century toilets.

      You do all that, people will still be laughing, but they’ll be laughing *with* you, instead of *at* you.


  9. Marcel says:


    It’s comments like these that destroy people’s confidence to have a go and have some fun — which I believe is at the core of what Make is about. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Who’d want to share their projects if you folks are going to knock it sideways?

    If it don’t tickle your fancy or sensibilities and you don’t have anything encouraging to say, kindly, don’t say it.


  10. Flakattack9 says:

    As the creator of TeslaPunk Toilet, I have been greatly amused by the attention it has received, therefore it has served it’s purpose! It’s a joke, people! Steampunk toilet!?! It’s my anachronistic masterpiece. Masterpiece of sh*t, some would say? You’re just jealous I thought of it first. Hahaha. Make a better one, I’d love to see it! As much fun to make as it is to use. And I would personally like to have lasers on everything, so there.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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