Mac and Typewriter Desktop Rig

Take an old Mac and a typewriter, and with creativity, time, and care, you might come out with an awesome invention that looks something like this:

Built from a 1991 Mac and a 114-year old Remington typewriter, artist Steve La Riccia combines two different perspectives of retro in one fully functional computing rig dubbed Wosniak’s Conundrum. Aside from the typewriter, the mod also has a mouse with a repurposed Morse code telegraph key, and a 56K modem made up of old telephone parts. And it has a floppy drive. What an antique!

The computer runs Mac OS 7.5 and features a word processor, calculator, spreadsheet program and even a flight simulator and Tetris. You can read more about it here. Check out the video below if you’d like a better look at it!

At present, you can view Wosniak’s Conundrum at the Apple Store in Eugene, Oregon.

Steampunk Bicycles

Seattle is a city of bicyclists, which still kind of surprises me, because it’s also a city of hills. Big hills. No seriously. BIG hills. Which is why when cyclists go whizzing by me as we make our respective ways downtown, I can’t help but wonder if they’re planning to bike all the way back up, or just cheat and take the bus (I would totally cheat).

Bicycles have been around since the Victorian times in their various incarnations, which makes Steampunking them a particular challenge. There isn’t much room to speculate on how a Victorian bicycle would have looked because, well, the exist. Steampunk and bicycles, therefore, more often than not intersect at fiction, and most of the mods are heavy with the what-ifs and limitless possibilities of Steampunk as a branch of speculative fiction.

An article by 1-800-Recycling features ten Steampunk bicycles from a time that never was. Check out the full article here, and when your done, think about dragging that old bike out of the shed and getting to work!

The Buccaneer Keyboard

I’ve posted a respectable amount of computer keyboard mods here on Trial By Steam. There’s something about a keyboard and its connection between the old typewriters and the way we communicate through them via the internet that begs for them to be modded. So much of Steampunk is online, so it makes sense that keyboards, mice, and computers are modded in that retrofuturistic look that we all love with some frequency.

The Buccaneer Keyboard is the latest addition to the various appearances for your keyboard created by Rampkins, a handcrafted art site in Shropshire, England. The execution of this keyboard is fantastically Steampunk, and there’s not a single superfluous gear in the entire creation.

I love how they admit in the build log that they were inspired by my friend Jake Von Slatt, who also makes a slew of positively gorgeous things too. Steampunk has a way of inspiring people go get out and create something of their own, and this a beautiful example of how contagious creativity can be.

Be sure to check out the build log for lots more information on how this keyboard was made. Click here for more photos of the finished product.

Steampunk iPhone 4 Case

I’ve seen a lot of Steampunked iPhone cases in my day. Believe me, I see more than my fair share of mediocre cases in my effort to weed through the junk and bring you only the very best of Steampunk here. But today’s case is pretty freaking sweet. Observe!

Oh my, it’s gorgeous!

Artist J. “Wilhelm” Dunn, the proprietor of VictorianSteampunk clearly put a considerable amount of attention into these intricate cases. There’s a ton of information on the cases and their various specs within each listing, so if you have questions about the specifics regarding the construction of purchase of one of these cases, please check it out.  These cases are available for iPhone 4 and iPod Touch from his etsy storefront. In addition to iDevice mods, he also has a small assortment of jewelry and keyrings.

A Summer Reading List for Crafters

Ah, summertime! It’s the perfect time of year to sit back, relax, and enjoy the sunshine with a good book. Even crafters, difficult as they are to pull away from their projects, could stand to benefit their respective art by sitting down with a book on their preferred medium and learning about the latest ideas and trends.

To that end, I recently found an article entitled A Summer Reading List for Crafters by Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood on mlive, a website for Michigan local news. The article makes some great recommendations for books to pick up if you happen to craft within one of the various textile based arts. Arts featured in the piece include: knitting, screen printing, natural dyes, sewing, fleece and fiber, Steampunk (?), and quilting.

And while one of the above categories is definitely not like the others, all the book recommendations seem to be solid suggestions. Even the Steampunk one kind of has its place as a book on Steampunk doll making entitled Steampunk Softies: Scientifically-Minded Dolls from a Past That Never Was by Nicola Tedman. So for all my fabric crafting readers, and for those considering starting, do take a look at the reading list!

QUIRK – The Steampunk Baby Dragon

From the same artist who brought you FOIBLE, The Steampunk Dragon Robot, comes QUIRK, The Steampunk Baby Dragon. Creator Will Wagenaar continued his style of using recycled and repurposed antiques to create incredible sculptures, and QUIRK is made primarily from copper and brass to give him a distinctly steamy appearance.

QUIRK stands 19 inches tall and 23 to 25 inches long. His neck extends and his head can be rotated up and down. To check out more pictures, and to buy QUIRK from Mr. Wagenaar, please visit his etsy listing. And while you are there, be sure to check out the rest of the Reclaim2Fame storefront, which is focused entirely on creating art from recycled, repurposed, and reclaimed items.

Steampunk Rotary Smart Phone

It’s about time for me to get a new cell phone, and there’s many a model for me to consider. All these phones do so many newfangled things nowadays, and I just got texting like, a year ago. So I’m behind the times. I’ve been plugging away with my little “dumb phone” (read, not smart) for a while and I was pretty much convinced I could leave those smart phones for people whose emails are considerably more pressing than mine.

Until I saw this:

Rotary smart phone?! What is this awesomeness?

Even in its prototype form, I can feel the pull of the smartphone dark side whispering sweetly in my ear, “Oh Audelia, you know this handcrafted phone is just perfect for your sense of style. And wouldn’t you love to do blog posts from your phone?”

Shush you!

This phone was created by Richard Clarkson, and he has some interesting things to say about what the phone is and why he created it in the first place, via designboom:

The rotary mechanical smartphone is based on the idea of incorporating more feeling and life into our everyday digital objects. In modern times these objects have come to define us, but who and what defines these objects? Are we happy with the generic rectangles of a touchscreen or do we want something with more tangibility, something with more life, something with more aura?  ‘Rotary mechanical’ is a question not only about the ever increasing ‘digital take-over’ of everything in our lives but also what is lost when this happens.

I’ll be paying close attention to both Richard’s and Rotary Mechanical’s tumblrs as this project continues along.