Steampunk describes an alternate reality where the Victorian period (late 1800s or early 1900s) coincides with the modern technology.
BOSTON — It’s fantasy, found objects and sci-fi all fused into one. Get ready for the ultimate design experience when Steampunk comes to the Boston Antiques & Design Show & Sale, Jan. 15-16 at the Shriner’s Auditorium in Wilmington, Mass. Here is a modern take on Victoriana that has everyone in the design world talking.
“Steampunk design marries the best parts of a bygone era with modern comforts and technology,” explain Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum of Mod Vic (Modern Victorian) who will mount an extraordinary exhibit of Steampunk furniture and objects at the upcoming event.
On view and for sale are computer workstations made from antique finds, desks, lighting, and wonderful Steampunk clocks in all sizes and shapes. For the kitchen, show goers will find vintage Victorian cook stoves, embellished with Steampunk parts, counters and re-purposed accessories such as a vintage cash register that now holds kitchen cutlery.
To understand Steampunk is to take a step back in time to the early 1900s when the steam engine came into being and innovation reigned. “Steampunk is all about a world where human intellect and wonder intersected with science,” explains Bruce Rosenbaum. “During the early 19th century, a scientist could make anything in his basement. It might be clunky looking, but if it worked, so much the better.
Steampunk can also be viewed as a reaction to mass-produced modern technology where the working parts of appliances and devices are hidden from view. “We’ve lost our sense of wonder and curiosity,” adds Melanie Rosenbaum. “With Steampunk, all of the working parts are exposed. That is part of its fascination.”
Steampunk relies on “modding” – an expression derived from the verb modify. Creators of Steampunk will take an object – often an antique – and modify it to perform a function that was not originally intended. Where to start? The Boston Antiques & Design Show & Sale will have any number of resources where you will find vintage pill cases, thread cutters, gardening and kitchen implements, old plumbing, cast off iron parts from machines, gears and vintage watchbands – all ingredients for Steampunk creations.
Dealers specializing in industrial design – furniture, fixtures and lighting that comes from old factories, warehouses, and buildings – are already familiar with the basic concepts of Steampunk. By recycling these finds into sleek, polished furnishings, they have given us a hint of what Steampunk has taken to even greater heights.
The Boston Antiques & Design Show & Sale is the perfect venue for the introduction of an exhibit this extraordinary. The show has long been viewed as the area’s premiere resource for antique and collecting trends. With more than 160 exhibitors from 11 states, the event draws thousands of visitors from throughout the area.
Hours for the Boston Antiques & Design Show & Sale are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Weekend Pass $10, Sunday only $7. Contact: 781-862-4039.
- Steampunk.com – An online home for the Steampunk movement
- The Steampunk Workshop – Projects, art and philosophy
- Steampunk on Wikipedia
- Christian Science Monitor article on Steampunk – Dec. 29, 2010
Before you start your next horological Steampunk project, take the time to learn the theory behind clock movement and design, including the particulars of escapements, pendulums, balance wheels, and even the sheet music for popular chimes. The American striking clock, the 400-day clock, and the alarm clock receive special attention. The in-depth information, including explanations of clock repairing terminology and details on the tools, materials, and supplies that are needed for success, will benefit even skilled enthusiasts.
Video from the Steampunk exhibit at Oxford’s Museum of the History of Science
MORE RESOURCES FOR ANTIQUE COLLECTORS and DEALERS