From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Top 10 Steampunk Gadgets

Cultural movements that inspire devotion and fanishness are often not given enough credit for the inventiveness they arouse. Steampunk is especially rife with masterpieces of fashion, art, craft, and technology. Every time you think you’ve seen the coolest, most out there steampunk creation another comes along. Of the specimens we’ve come across, these are our ten favorites.

10. Time Lord Steampunk Goggles

Time Lord Steampunk Goggles

Coming in all shapes and sizes, servicing mad-scientists and cyberpunks alike, goggles are a fashion accessory that may not be unique to Steampunk, but how could you fly your airship without them?

9. “Atmosphere Mash” Gasmask

Atmosphere Mash Gasmask

Somewhat similar to its optically-focused brethren in that it isn’t a Steampunk specific trend, gasmasks are still a common element for the genre, particularly in stories that lean to the side of dystopia. All that coal and steam doesn’t exactly do wonders for the air quality.

8. “Siddhartha Pod” Steampunk Lantern

Siddhartha Pod Steampunk Lantern

Why rely on fickle oil and flame any longer? The new age of electricity is here!

7. “The Key to Time” Pocketwatch

The Key To Time Pocketwatch

Any proper gentleman or lady knows that they’d be best be back from adventuring in time for tea. Best paired with a top hat.

6. Datamancer’s Steampunk Laptop

Datamancer's Steampunk Laptop

And who ever said that all laptops have to be homogenous hunks of plastic? Technology deserves better: poise, elegance, and eerie similarities to a wood-paneled station wagon.

5. “The Villanizer” Guitar

The Villanizer Guitar

Would a pun about industrial metal be in bad taste? It would? Okay.

4. “Mechanical Aural Communication Device” Bluetooth Earpiece

Mechanical Aural Communication Device

For all you high-functioning businesspeople who don’t look crazy enough shouting about mergers and acquisitions to thin air–now you can look like a crazy cyborg businessman shouting about mergers and acquisitions to thin air.

3. Steampunk Mouse

Steampunk Mouse

While this could definitely be paired with the laptop from #5, we had to rate this mouse higher because it looks like a tiny golden (many-geared and thing-a-ma-bobbed) tank. And tank beats station wagon in every game of rock paper scissors I’ve ever played. Even the cord and the USB port on this puppy are classy.

2. Steampunk Cell Phone

Steampunk Cell Phone

Vying for top spot is another bit of communication-related technology. Though not as initially eye-catching as the Blue Tooth device above at #7, the functional design of this cell phone is what makes it intriguing and ultimately a venture into Steampunk-styled fantasy. In order to make calls, you have to use hole-punched cards that you slide into the phone. Though not capable of many of the utilities we’ve come to expect from even the average cell phone (let alone the upper tier of devices like iPhones or Blackberries), the design is too ambitious to be ignored, flaunting its inefficiency as nostalgic simplicity in the face of the demanding cellular phone market.

1. Nathans Amberic Array Violin

Nathans Amberic Array Violin

Abandoning the more heavily cog-gy, gear-iness of some of the previous gadgets brings us to something that is undeniably a work of refined grace. While form might give way to function in this piece, the concept of ethereal beauty mixed with already aesthetic technology–perfectly blended in this work of art–is entirely central to Steampunk ideology.

This list was compiled by Fantasy staffers Nicole D. Leffel and Samantha Chapman with input from Keith Thompson and Evelyn Kriete. Descriptions and commentary by Nicole D. Leffel.

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