James Bridle is my favourite Blogpunk author.
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
I’ve always thought that Brighton has a lot of steampunk appeal. Quite apart from the potential for criminal mastermind lairs within the the Victorian sewers, there are a whole slew of wonderful inventions from the mind of Magnus Volk.
The Volk’s Electric Railway is still in use today. The Daddy Long-Legs, alas, is not. And while the Jubilee clock tower still stands in the centre of town, its moving parts have been disabled (due to noise complaints and damage to the structural integrity):
The hydraulically operated copper sphere moved up and down a 16-foot (4.9 m) metal mast every hour, based on electrical signals transmitted from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
But even with all this steampunk history, I was still surprised to read the story of Alpha the robot on Paleo-Future:
During the autumn of 1932 a group of curious onlookers assembled in Brighton, England to see inventor Harry May’s latest invention, Alpha the robot. The mechanical man was controlled by verbal commands and sat in a chair silently while May carefully placed a gun in Alpha’s hand.
It all goes horribly awry according to contemporary reports, doubtless exaggerated. I, for one, welcome our new metal overlords.
When commanded, the robot lowered its arm, raised the other, lowered it, turned its head from side to side, opened and closed its prognathous jaw, sat down. Then Impresario May asked Alpha a question:
“How old are you?”
From the robot’s interior a cavernous Cockney voice responded:
May: What do you weigh?
Alpha: One ton.
A dozen other questions and answers followed, some elaborately facetious. When May inquired what the automaton liked to eat, it responded with a minute-long discourse on the virtues of toast made with Macy’s automatic electric toaster.
Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Instruction manual to operate and maintain Charles Babbage's 2nd Difference Engine built by Barrie Holloway and Reg Crick, June 1991 for the Science Museum, London SW7 2DD.
Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
I'm not sure I can resist ordering one of these T-shirts featuring crime-fighting duo Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace.
Monday, May 18th, 2009
A look into the future that never was. This stuff is right up my alley.
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
I think this has to be my favourite contribution to Ada Lovelace day. Brilliant!
Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
Beautiful steampunk jewellry.
Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
A zeppelin over London. No, this isn't some steampunk flight of fancy; it's for real.
Saturday, June 7th, 2008
Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! "A new generation of environmentally friendly 'hybrid airships' could be just about to take off." Anything that makes everyday life more like Steampunk must be good.
Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
I love the idea of this bit of real-world steampunk alternative history. From May 22nd to June 15th you will be able to use the telectroscope to look into a tunnel through the earth from London to New York.
Monday, May 19th, 2008
I would kill to get hold of this Steampunk Mac mini, flat panel monitor and brass keyboard.