New surreal woodcut collages from Dan Hillier


I've long admired happy mutant illustrator Dan Hillier, who produces beautiful line-art collages that combine Victorian woodcuts with original illustration to produce beautiful and surreal effects. He's just uploaded a passel of new work, including the wonderful "Wayfarer," above. You can buy 'em as prints online, or from his stall in the Sunday Upmarket in London's Brick Lane.

NEW WORK

Victorian jargon watch: "a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase"

The Internet Archive has a complete scan of James Redding Ware's wonderful 1909 treatise "Passing English of the Victorian era: a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase," ganked from the University of Toronto's Robarts library. The Archive has OCR'ed versions, hi-rez PDFs of color and b/w scans, and every ebook format you're likely to need.

If you'd prefer a hardcopy there's a paperback reprint for sale, too. It's really something. Here's a few gems:

Enobs (Back slang). Bone, in ordinary plural. A very favourite inversion is a sort of rebus, bones showing affording a study of ' knobs '.

But he swallowed a box of matches one day which burnt away all the fat and left the mere enoba you see now.

Evening wheezes (Peoples'). False news, spread in evening half- penny papers in order to sell them.

Fairy (Lower Peoples). A debauched, hideous old woman, especially when drunk.

Fake a poke (Thieves'). To pick, or manipulate, a pocket. This phrase is a singular revival. Johnson has ' Fake amongst seamen a pile of rope,' and as to poke ' a pocket or small bag'. ' I will not buy a pig in a poke !' Camden.

He denied that when entering the music hall he was accused by a larty of picking her pocket, and further said that when called out he did not say he had never ' faked a poke ' in his life. People, 6th September 1896.

Fake pie (Straitened Soc., 1880). A towards -the-end-of-the- week effort at pastry, into which go all the ' orts ', ' overs ', and ' ends ' of the week. See Resurrection pie a term which this has superseded.

Penny puzzle (Street, 1883). Sausage because it is never found out. (See Bag o' mystery.)

Wingers sometimes called Flanges (Colloquial about 1865). After the Crimean beard, which meant all the hair growable on the face, had lasted in fashion about ten or twelve years, the chin came to be once more shown, and the whiskers were thrown back, or pulled away from the cheeks, and allowed to grow as long as nature decided. The name was obtained from their streaming and waving character.

Passing English of the Victorian era : a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase. [archive.org]

Passing English of the Victorian era : a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase. [Amazon]

(via Making Light)

Gigapixel images of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine #2


Greg sez, "This project is using a number of computational photography techniques to document Charles Babbage's 'Difference Engine No 2' for the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. There are interactive gigapixel images for the four cardinal views of the device available to view."

Babbage Difference Engine in Gigapixel (Thanks, Greg!)

Steampunk's Guide to Sex


Margaret Killjoy sez, "We just got A Steampunk's Guide to Sex back from the printer! With contributions by Alan Moore, Molly Crabapple, and Professor Calamity, the book covers all kinds of crazy Victorian sexuality as well as ideas about steampunk and geek sexuality in the 21st century. It comes complete with sketchy DIY how-tos and is illustrated by original tintypes."

Prostitution, pornography, sex toys, dirty stories, BDSM, gay New York, can-can dancers, strippers, tight-laced corsets, prudery, polyamory, consent, venereal diseases, piercings, birth control, aphrodisiacs, creepers, floggers, steam-powered vibrators, sex slang—mad historian Professor Calamity and his assembled crew of steampunk authors, artists, and performers share everything you want to know, and more, about sex under the reign of Victoria and sex in our modern subculture. Featuring contributions by: Professor Calamity, Luna Celeste, Molly Crabapple, KC Crowell, O.M. Grey, Sarah Hunter (aka Lady Clankington), Margaret Killjoy, Canis Latrans, Talloolah Love, Screaming Mathilda, Alan Moore, Miriam Roček, J.I. Wittstein.

A Steampunk's Guide to Sex

Steampunk Dalek

About this spectacular wearable steampunk Dalek, BB reader Mark Dumont writes:
Electronics are contained in box at back waist containing arduino uno, 2 nine volt batteries, and small amp. Speakers are in ends of tube around neck and mic is on an earpiece. Arduino board powers eye stalk and dome lights as well as handles dalek voice modulation. I found the arduino sketch (source and circuit diagrams) can be found here, kudos to Andy Grove for the sketch. Originally created for my wife (the only dalek I will ever love) for the Time Traveler's Ball held at the Redmoor in Cincinnati 11/17/12
Photo Link. (Shared in the BB Flickr Pool)

Doktor A's immortality helmet


Doktor A's beautiful immortality helmet was produced on commission and looks like a spectacular way to extend your lifespan:

1. Remove strap and leads from the storage drawer.
2. Place electrodes against forehead and tighten strap.
3. Attach bulldog clips to terminals in the jaw.
4. Set over-ride timer to desired duration.
5. Crank the main handle to build electrical charge.
6. Close the main switch to engage the electrical flow.
7. Increase the electrical voltage using dial.
8. Wait until your Asphyx manifests within the tube.
9. Shut off charge to electrodes using the main switch.
10. Transfer the Asphyx to a long term containment device.
11. Congratulations you have gained immortality.

Congratulations you have gained immortality. (via Super Punch)

Encrusted, elaborate assemblage sculptures


Richard Symons, an artist based in London, makes elaborate, gadget-encrusted sculptures, and sells them on Etsy. The teapot above sells for USD130.00. The mask on the right sells for USD60.00.

Richard Symons (via Super Punch)

Steampunk clockmaker Roger Wood among his creations

Stephen sez, "Masterful gadget-maker Roger Wood poses alongside some of his whimsical clock creations at his Hamilton-based workshop and steampunk emporium, Klockwerks. When he came out in his goggles and steampunk kit, I told him, 'You look so much like an inventor.' He answered, 'I AM an inventor.'"

Roger was my neighbour for a decade, and his workshop was always a wonderland. I haven't been to his new place in Hamilton, but if this picture is any indication, it's every bit as wonderful.

Steampunk Thing-Maker Roger Wood and Assorted Klockwerks (Thanks, Stephen!)

Steampunk Nintendo casemod


Redditor Andrew5785 refurbed an elderly Nintendo system for a covetous steampunk nephew, turning it into a sweet little contrafactual brass retrofuture contraption.

Steam-Punk Nintendo: Built this for my nephew that likes steam-punk and wanted my old Nintendo. (imgur.com)

Munson typewriter, a beauty from 1890


The Martin Howard Typewriter Collection has a new treasure to show off: a Munson typewriter, with horizontal rods that control a hammer that strikes the page from behind:

The Munson typewriter is a remarkable piece of engineering, with a complex and original mechanical design packed into a small frame. Its inner workings are largely exposed, so the machine comes to life with moving rods and levers when being used.

The Munson does not have type-bars but uses a horizontal type-cylinder (about the size of ones finger) that slides from side-to-side and rotates to have the correct character move into place. Then a hammer strikes the paper from behind, pushing the paper against the ribbon and type-cylinder. Type-cylinders with different fonts were available.

With two shift keys, uppercase and figures, only three rows of keys are required.

The Munson was introduced in 1890 and did quite well on the market; however, today it is hard to find. The Munson became the Chicago in 1898 when the enterprise was bought and the typewriters were manufactured by The Chicago Writing Machine Co.

Munson 1 (Thanks Martin!)

The Arrival: graphic introduction to steampunk ARG


The Arrival is the opening salvo in a multi-year, multimedia steampunk alternate reality based in London. It tells the story of how restless mechanical servants were brought to Victorian England, servants who had to move always to recharge their batteries (this alternate world has a different sort of entropy than ours, I gather), and then broke free of their constraints with the help of human masters.

It's a nicely told, rather short introduction to a very rich world that is unfolding at Clockwork Watch. The organisers have put on some reportedly extraordinary live events in London, and there seems to be a lot more to come.

London 1899. Steam billows out from every corner of the city while huge Zeppelin airships float in the sky overhead. Enter the world of Clockwork Watch, a place where Victorian values are coupled with anachronistic technology, not least of which are the clockwork servants - the mechanical slaves that keep this society ticking along - this is the world of Steampunk.

Technological and social change is in the air - human-clockwork hybridisation is the talk of the town; the unwise employment of science has led to amazement and outcry - the public wants to know whether Science is about to play God.

The Arrival | Clockwork Watch

Victorian and Edwardian proto-science-fiction

David Malki sez, "I moderated a panel at Worldcon the other week on Victorian & Edwardian (proto-)science fiction, and my co-panelist Matt Bennardo kept notes on everything both the panelists and the audience brought up. A lot of great work was mentioned, including tons of titles I'd never heard before. Now Matt's compiled this list of links to free etexts of everything we could find! Months of reading at the very least. Hope you enjoy!"

Over the course of the Victorian and Edwardian science-fiction panel, about 50 books and short stories were mentioned or discussed. It’s not possible to reproduce all the discussion here, but the list makes a fair starting point for those who may be looking for a general introduction to the science-fiction of the period.

This list has many shortcomings. It is nowhere near comprehensive. In fact, the panel largely jumped over the well-known catalogues of writers like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Edgar Rice Burroughs. This doesn’t mean that the unnamed books by those writers aren’t worth reading. But most readers are likely to already be aware of many of them, and the discussion veered more often towards some less commonly read works.

In a few places, the list strays from all reasonable definitions of “Victorian” and “Edwardian”. Some books and stories that fall into different periods were discussed as points of comparison. I’ve included all those that I remember, whether or not they are technically “Victorian” or “Edwardian”. Finally, the list is not very diverse — it consists almost entirely of books written by American, English, and French men. Mary Shelley and Charlotte Perkins Gilman are the only women mentioned, and no writers from other countries make an appearance.

A Brief Survey of Victorian Science Fiction (Thanks, David !)

Steampunk's guide to sex

Margaret Killjoy sez, "Combustion Books, the indie publisher of SteamPunk Magazine, is raising funds to print A Steampunk's Guide to Sex. The book is aimed to be a serious (though entertaining) look at how Victorian sexuality influences contemporary sex. The contributors include OWS's Steampunk Emma Goldman, From Hell author Alan Moore, and Professor Calamity, the US's only arrested blogger."

Attentive readers will recall Killjoy from the excellent Steampunk magazine (whose motto is "Love the machine, hate the factory") and the kick-ass What Lies Beneath the Clock Tower, a steampunk choose-your-own-adventure.

A Steampunk's Guide to Sex

Tuesday linkdump

* Clockwork fairy. Steampunk! Steampunk! Set aside the impulse to tedious kvetching about nonfunctional gears and sit agog with me. (via)

* Stop Pretending Art Is Hard. From botched art restoration to manifesto in one t-shirt.

* The Science News Cycle [PhD Comics]. Don't believe the hype. DING DING! (via)

* Talk on Beat SF, Turing and Burroughs. Rudy Rucker being as Ruckerian as is humanly possible, and we're all better for it.

* The Real Romney. Biography of the man before he became a quadrillionaire sovereign nation in a vat. (via)

* Spanish microcurrency boom. When the going gets tough, the tough issue fiat scrip. (via)

* Anarchist scaremongering at RNC. Black bloc bogeymen for everyone! They've got acid-filled eggs, you know. Because that would totally work. (via)

* Deporting parents of children born in America. No human is illegal*. If your family values demand that the mothers of American children should be sent abroad forever, you're doing it wrong. (via)

Datamancer modernizes the steampunk laptop


Datamancer has finally built an up-to-date laptop to go with his legendary steampunk keyboards. It looks like a Victorian music box, but runs like a kick-ass gamer laptop.

We are currently filling orders on the first small batch of laptops, but will be opening up another batch soon. Please subscribe to the out-of-stock notification below to be alerted as to their availability. This exquisitely handcrafted, limited edition laptop features a full-wood chassis, physically-engraved, lacquered brass keys, semi-precious gems that act as LED indicator lights, and a beautiful lid design with a gold foil map (other customizations available). It is the second revision of the ever-famous Datamancer Steampunk Laptop.

This laptop is made to be as functional as it is attractive, using an Asus gaming laptop at its heart with an Intel I7 2670QM processor, NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 555M graphics, 8 Gigs of DDR3 RAM, a glossy 17.3" Full HD (1920x1080) screen, and a Super-multi DVD drive.

Datamancer Victorian Laptop