Steampunk segment on G4

G4 did a pretty decent segment on steampunk, centered on our friends at Abney Park and current MAKE cover spokesgentleman Jake von Slatt. I like Morgan Webb’s description of it as “Goth for engineers.”

[Note to Steampunk Haters: Scroll along, nothing to see here. Same old, same old.]

From MAKE magazine:

Check out MAKE, Volume 17: The Lost Knowledge issue!


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In Volume 17, MAKE goes really old school with the Lost Knowledge issue, featuring projects and articles covering the steampunk scene — makers creating their own alternative Victorian world through modified computers, phones, cars, costumes, and other fantastic creations. Projects include an elegant Wimshurst Influence Machine (an electrostatic generator built entirely from Home Depot parts), a Florence Siphon coffee brewer, and a teacup-powered Stirling engine. This special section also covers watchmaking, letterpress printing, the early multimedia art of William Blake, and other wondrous and lost (or fading) pre-20th-century technologies.

14 thoughts on “Steampunk segment on G4

  1. Gizmo says:

    That is unfortunate.

    Steampunk is at the other end of the spectrum from where I reside. It just doesn’t click with me except as something to be aware of, something to observe. No brass and leather USB devices for me, thanks.

    But it is a shame if there are people that can’t tolerate the occasional post about it.

  2. tudza says:

    Steampunk is just disappointing for the most part, wood and brass glued to some modern bits.

    1. von Corax says:

      If that’s your understanding of what Steampunk is, tudza, then I respectfully suggest you research the matter in considerably more depth. Mr. von Slatt’s own Steampunk Workshop ( is a good place to start, as are the Brass Goggles Forums ( Be prepared for a long journey, as there is far, far more to Steampunk than simply “wood and brass glued to some modern bits.”

      You may not find all of it appealing; you may not find any of it appealing. You should, at least, make your assessment a well-informed one.

  3. St.Eligius says:

    I’ll have to agree with tudza, nonfunctional steam punk is a bit of a let down. However retrotech like nixie displays (and vacuum tube devices in general) and Crabfu’s steam devices are (to me) quite exciting.

  4. Karstan says:

    Wow. Until watching this video I was pretty fascinated by the whole steam punk idea. I still think the functional stuff is neat… but wow… not impressed by these people. It’s just another sub-group looking to conform. Very underwhelming.

    1. Drew says:

      I am not a fan of the glue, the sticking gears on everything, and the ridiculous cosplay I see in steampunk. But that’s not all of it. People like von Slatt, Jules Verne, ect., should not apologize for the AESTHETIC they create. It is just that there is a name on the face of the aesthetic now that people can criticize it in some manner, and shame it as well with the painted nerf guns, dancing around in period “costumes”.

      I loved the worlds and creations of Jules Verne, brass steam engines, mechanical automata, 18th century adventurers, contraptions & follys, astronomical clocks, frock coats, monocles, and handlebar mustaches long before the “steampunk” phenomenon took off. I like that people “get” the underlying design cues of Art Noveau, brass, and exoticism that mix for what I like. Does it’s existence now belittle what I love? No. Even though there is a lot of childish stuff that passes for steampunk nowadays does not diminish the fact that there is a WORD now, that encompasses much of the aesthetic I love dearly.

  5. quack says:

    Something about Captain Robert makes me want to push him over and yell “YOU ARE NOT THAT COOL, GET OVER YOURSELF” He just seems so pompous.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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