By Cory Doctorow at 10:04 pm Tue, Oct 19, 2010
Typewriter collectors everywhere sigh.
I’m wondering if steampunk has had it’s 15 minutes yet…
Very cool. It looks like something out of “9”..
Old tech doesn’t die, it’s reborn as art.
It looked like it crawled out of a steno pool at low tide.
Nice. Next: a typewriter from octopus parts (w. squid ink).
Next next: an awesome banana made from typewriter parts. Look at it, just look at it.
Naked Lunch. David Cronenberg. Fuckyeaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh
That’s no octopus! That’s a prototype of the baby harvester from the Matrix! Kill it!
I’ve been getting uneasy about the random dismantling of old machines. To watch the commodification of steampunk is to understand what happened to the Antikythera Mechanism’s relatives.
Go look on eBay. People are buying mixed lots of machine parts or brass gears without knowing or caring about the devices they came from. For too many of them, it’s just craft supplies.
Here’s a fairly typical low-end use. I don’t think it even occurred to the maker that she could link up the teeth in that sequence of gears. My impression is that for her, gears have no context.
The vendors who supply this market are taking old machinery apart without caring what it is. Gears from Baby Ben clocks or inexpensive late-model cuckoo clocks? Not a problem. There are zillions of those. If you keep an eye out, you can literally buy them by the boxful. But there’s no guarantee that what’s being disassembled is common or unremarkable.
Precision machinery passes out of expert hands and into inexperienced ones. That’s just probability at work: inexperienced hands outnumber expert ones. And when someone who wouldn’t know a fusee from a flying tourbillon cleans out an old warehouse, or sells off the belongings of some geezer whose heirs aren’t interested in going through it, anything can happen.
Here’s the eHow article on how to find gears for steampunk fashion jewelry. It reminds me of nothing so much as a 1940s book I own that has a section on remodeling your house. It starts by saying that if your house has a lot of hopelessly outdated ornamentation and architectural detail on it, you should start by just stripping it all off “so you can see what you really have.”
A great deal of medieval and renaissance embroidery disappeared during the Regency, done in by a fashionable hobby called “drizzling.” Go to this site and search on the word.
Did I mention that Mattel now sells a Steampunk Barbie?
inb4 people complaining about how few old typewriters are left and how this sort of crafting is destructive, etc.
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