Old House Idiosyncrasies #6–The Octagon House

In a blog post on Steampunk Architecture that I wrote almost three years ago (and which has consistently been one of my more popular posts), I included a picture of the Armour Steiner House in upstate New York which has the distinction of having an octagonal floor plan.  Prompted by a post in the always interesting website Atlas Obscura, I looked around for more examples of these unusually shaped buildings.  And it turns out there’s an interesting story behind them.


Armour-Stiner House, Irvington, New York. Source: JMReidy on panoramio.com

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Victorian Scientists writing poetry — Collecting Reality

Back in 2011, New Scientist magazine produced an excellent article on poetry written by Victorian scientists, including the great James Clark Maxwell. In 1865 he demonstrated that electric and magnetic fields travel through space as waves moving at the speed of light. https://www.newscientist.com/article/1966743-rhyme-and-reason-the-victorian-poet-scientists/ The poems the article mentions are collected here: https://www.newscientist.com/round-up/poetry/ They are quite […]

via Victorian Scientists writing poetry — Collecting Reality

Michael Faraday: The Scientist’s Scientist


Portrait of Michael Faraday, by Thomas Phillips, 1842. If I were to guess, I’d say the apparatus on the left is a battery.

Michael Faraday, as I hope to convince you by the end of this blog post, was not only the most famous scientist of the Victorian Era, but quite possibly the scientist most responsible for the technological advances that have been achieved since.  And considering his humble origins, possibly the least likely to have done so.

After reading the paragraph above, it should come as no surprise that Michael Faraday is my favorite scientist.  As an electrochemist, my work owes much–no, everything!–to the discoveries that he made. And so, it was probably inevitable that Faraday would have a cameo appearance in my steampunk adventure novels.  Little did I know when I started writing that he would end up being one of the main characters in the book that I just launched, The Secret Notebook of Michael Faraday.  While writing in the steampunk genre allows one to bend the truth a bit (as far as I know Faraday did not keep a secret lab notebook), I have endeavoured to depict Faraday for the most part truthfully.  His life is sufficiently interesting that it needs little embellishment from me.

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