Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dr. Fabre's Steampunk Analytical Engine Room

After moving into his new home, Dr. Rafael Fabre (who writes Voyages of a Steampunk Physician -- I particularly enjoy his Victorian Notables feature) has decided to turn his study into a "Steampunk Analytical Engine Room." Since Dr. Fabre is a dignitary in the Second Life Steampunk community, you can imagine that he will spend considerable time in this room. A good reason, I think, to invest some time and money into making it a place of comfort and charm.

Although it is still a work in progress, Dr. Fabre has agreed to share his approach with us. First (in a series) is a review of his favorite source. Since I personally am a better dreamer than executioner ;), I'm very much looking forward to see how the good doctor acts on all these ideas.

Finding items and accouterments that fit a Steampunk aesthetic is always a challenge, especially if one is trying to work on a budget. However, a few special pieces are always a nice touch if one is trying to recreate this genre.

On this note, one of my long time favorite shopping locales is the store named Design Toscano". This store specializes in “classic” designs of a variety of genres (Medieval, Roman, Gothic), mostly replica pieces. That being said, they are quite nice and unique, albeit a bit pricey for the average budget.

Steampunk-wise, there are a number of pieces that stand out in their current catalogue – any of which would be a fantastic addition to such a design plan…

Eiffel Tower Phone
There are a number of phones available, but I had to admire the detail on this working piece, including the hand crank and ornamentation. It runs $100 USD, but is a beautiful piece.

A replica Deep Sea Diver’s helmet
For those who wish to follow what I’ve termed the “Steampunk Transportation” theme, specifically one with a nautical flavor, a Deep Sea Diver’s helmet is a must! Although I’ve found a couple on Ebay, (one full size one with brass for about $220 USD, and a half sized one for $50 USD), this might be middle ground (no brass, but full sized).

A bulldog (of any sort)!

Nothing says “Victorian / Steampunk” for a gentleman, like a bulldog – especially one that is wearing a bowler and smoking a cigar! The other aspect of my “Steampunk makeover” will include cigar items -- cigar label art, a humidor, and other items -- easily available from my local metropolis. I am fortunate to already have this little fellow (a Christmas gift), but the price is minuscule as compared to the rough-hewn look of the foundry metal from which it is made.

Also, gentlemen, keep in mind, the “Dogs Playing Poker” is VERY Victorian (actually more Edwardian, as Mr. Cassius Coolidge started painting the “dogs” in the 1870’s, but in 1903 received his big break with an advertising contract) – so having a framed “A friend in need” or “His station and four aces” would be completely appropriate in my humble opinion. Toscano sells “A friend” framed for about $245 USD, but a poster version, with a nice frame works just as well (and is an excuse to get two or even three)!

The Templeton Regulator Wall Clock

Although described as being from the late 16th century, I did admire the exposed gear and cog work, along with the fact it is made of brass – making it a perfect piece for a Steampunk room. A seven-day movement will require a reminder to keep accurate, but I would argue there is nothing better than an actual working piece of equipment with exposed elements, especially if it serves a purpose. At $99 USD, it is again a bit more than the average clock, but the brass work and functionality of this piece is worth the price.

I promised Miss Sara that I would keep her informed of my “work in progress”, and once I begin the actual renovations of the “Steampunk room”, I shall keep her attuned of the changes (with pictures), along with any “discoveries” I encounter along the way.

Please do, Dr. Fabre.... I'm looking forward to seeing your creation.

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