Beautiful steampunk lamps

I just ordered one of Dr Roberts's magnificent and functional steampunk lamps -- I wanted to make sure I got my order in before I blogged it and he sold out, because goddamn these things are fantabulously wondrous and made of purest awesomesauce. Dr Glenn Roberts is a horticulturalist at the University of Guelph, but if he ever wants to quit his day job, I think he's got a fine second career here.

Curious Inventions of Dr. Roberts

Update: All sold out! Here's what you missed


  1. It appears that these items are a bit of vaporware, non-existent to those of us without the secret password, the code to the chamber, or perhaps the map to the inner sanctum.

    Do they really exist, and, if not, why..and, if they do, why?

  2. Improbable, yes .. but true! Look at the dates of the items sold. It seems they were all sold today.

  3. These are very cool, and would look awesome sitting on a table, but would be sadly unusuable — the light emanating from them would (I’m guessing) be harsh and unpleasant, because they’re bare bulbs.

    I would respectfully submit the addition of a velvet damask shade with long fringe or crystal beading.

  4. and polished wood.
    and gears superglued on as an afterthought.

    Most of the stuff in that picture doesn’t actually contribute to the functioning of this lamp, which more or less destroys the elegance of this piece (and of many steampunk projects) for me.

  5. Purty.

    Are these rated for UK power, Cory, or are you having to run yours through a step-down converter?

    Also, I guess I have fairly ambivalent feelings about using old-style incandescent lightbulbs (though fitting fluorescents into a steampunk project would be a greater challenge)

  6. This seems more valvepunk than steampunk. Perhaps weatherpunk? Lumenpunk? I’m confused. If brass rather than steam defines steampunk, what would a lamp that actually used steam in an anachronistic fashion to operate, but constructed using no brass be classified as?

  7. Needs some fabric stretched over a framework of narrow copper pipes or gears or something: retro-looking lampshade technology. The bare bulbs would be cute to look at when they’re off, not cute enough to actually use a lamp with bare bulbs.

  8. The concept of steampunk is very exciting to me, and this is a beautiful piece. I am, this year, living in the year 1955 and am really being influenced alot by the mid-century designs. I think when I travel back to the present in 2010 I need to make my own version of steampunk! Also, I think steampunk has come to symbolize a design esthetis as well as a performance descriptive. Much like Atomic Designs of the 1950s are inspired by that age but not, themselves, actually powered by atomic energy. I can’t imagine my vintage mixer having such power!

  9. Seems like there needs to be different terms to differentiate between stuff that someone in some alternate steamy universe might plausibly build and stuff with, as Pantograph said, “gears superglued on as an afterthought.” Something meaning “fake steampunk,” but more clever, that higher level nerds can snort derisively.

  10. If you’re down he’ll pick you up, Doctor Robert
    Take a drink from his special cup, Doctor Robert
    Doctor Robert, he’s a man you must believe,
    Helping everyone in need
    No one can succeed like Doctor Robert

    cause he sold out.

    I’d say these are more Pulp type mad scientist stuff than steampunk.

  11. #14 Kieran O’Neill

    Surely a true steampunk would just plug it in, and if it exploded, stroke his sideburns meditatively, and then design and build an inverter using bits of leftover time machine.

  12. Lovely pieces, and they give me some ideas, as well. I do happen to have an old cedar jewelry box gathering dust somewhere around here…

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