Steampunk at its Design Core

I’ve loved ModVic’s designs ever since I first saw them!

Just like the Victorian era had its “revival” styles–Gothic Revival, Renaissance Revival, etc.–I like to think of the Steampunk Aesthetic as “Victorian Revival”, containing some aspects of Victorian styles, just with a more modern twist.

Airship Ambassador


Bruce Rosenbaum, ModVic LLC


It was not until the Summer of 2008 I first heard the word ‘ Steampunk’. A friend had known about the movement and aesthetic and told me we were Steampunking. The description seemed quite odd to me. I understood the ‘steam’ referenced the steam that generated power for the machines and factories of the Victorian and Industrial Age. It was the word ‘punk’ that gave me pause. It brought to mind the more mischievous days of my youth in Marblehead, Massachusetts, but punk is a designation I thought I had outgrown a long time ago.

My wife, Melanie and I started our home restoration business, ModVic, short for Modern Victorian, in June of 2007. Our vision was to combine the best of the Victorian and Industrial ages by incorporating modern technologies and systems of today’s conveniences with Victorian elegance and design. The idea was…

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A Japanese View of Victorian London

A View of the Thames by Utagawa Yoshitora, c. 1860s.  Image from the Library of Congress collection.

A View of the Thames by Utagawa Yoshitora, c. 1860s. Image from the Library of Congress collection.

In the spirit of Steampunk Hands Around the World 2015, I’d like to share a view of Victorian London as depicted by a Japanese artist of the time, Utagawa Yoshitora. Whether writing, creating, or defining your steampunk persona, it is always helpful to see through others’ eyes and gain a fresh perspective.

More details on the artist and these prints at the always informative Two Nerdy History Girls blog.

Steampunk Weekend DIY

Lots of great Steampunk DIY projects!

Shawn Writes Stuff

There’s an abundance of octopus hats this week.  That’s the only intro I can think of.

So if you were looking for a tentacle related project, read on!

There are some other cool things too.  Somehow I got wrapped up in steampunk octopus stuff and things spiraled out of control form there.  I google’d aardvarks for goodness sake.  The internet, man.  The internet…


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Old House Idiosyncrasies #2–Imbrication

DSC_0271Imbrication is a fancy word that means the overlapping of edges, such as in scales or tiles.  Or shingles, as it turns out.  In architectural parlance, imbrication is the use of specially shaped shingles to create a decorative effect.  Imbrication is often seen in Victorian homes, especially those built in the Queen Anne style, between about 1880-1900. Continue reading

DIY Steampunk Plasma Pistol

pistol_offOnce I had a steampunk outfit put together, I wanted to accessorize.  While I’ve since imagined a few instruments appropriate for a Steampunk Scientist, the first gadget I made was a plasma pistol.

My ultimate inspiration was seeing a steampunked electric guitar on display a few years ago at Clockwork Alchemy, the San Jose steampunk con.  The guitar incorporated a small plasma globe into its design and I thought it the perfect piece of steampunk technology.  (Unfortunately, I can’t find a photo of this guitar on line, but if anyone knows its maker, please let me know and I’ll suitably recognize him/her.)

I remember when plasma globes were special enough that they were exhibits at science museums.  That I could incorporate one into one of my creations was too cool. Continue reading