19th Century-Style Computers

Several years ago I saw an online ad for modern computers which had been encased in contraptions that looked like they had been designed by the same person who designed the fancy time machine in the movie of that name or who had seen the movie **Brazil **too many times. I’ve been trying to track down the ad or ads for similar old-fashioned looking computers and haven’t been successful. Can anyone help me?

Do you mean one of the many “steampunk” inspired case mods? I enjoy those myself, so here’s a link:


At any rate, you have a starting point for a google search

Thanks for this lead. It is not exactly what I was looking for, but I will see what I can find using it as a starting point.

“Steampunk” is what you are looking for.

Mutant Chronicles” is largely steampunk.

Steampunk, definitely. In a nutshell, it’s a Science Fiction What-If style where you consider:

  1. Following and enhancing the visions of 19th century SF writers such as H.G. Wells.
  2. Imagining what technology would look like if 19th century engineers had designed items that are ubiquitous today or are the realm of SF, e.g. if the Industrial Revolution had proceeded much faster than it actually had, but with raw materials and basic engineering practices of the day.
  3. Imagining if 19th century styles, culture, and means of power stayed the same over time. (e.g. if the internal combustion engine, plastics, and integrated circuits never became ubiquitous, and the world wars and the social upheavals of the 20th century never occurred, leading to a AD 2400 with steam powered starcruisers crewed by Victorian types.

Of course, some of the items above may overlap to some degree…

Some things that are Steampunk:

Wild Wild West
Some of the works of Hayao Miyazaki
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Difference Engine

Obligatory video of the most awesome steampunk computer ever. You’ve got to see it in real life to believe it.

19th century style computers?

WTF do they teach in school these days?

There is one and only one name that means anything as far as
19th century computers go, and that name is Charles Babbage.

Let me spell the name in BOLD CAPS for the retarded masses
of late 20th-early 21st century education:


Got it now, retards?

I guess I should put the great Charles Babbage just a click away,
so the retarded masses won’t think they actually have to do any
real work to learn anything:

Babbage #1

Babbage #2

Babbage #3

Did you read the OP?

SyFy’s Warehouse 13 also has some cool steampunk props.

There’s this beautiful Steampunk Laptop too.

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That computer is awesome.

I appreciate all the people who responded to my original question. But now I realize that if I want a computer like the ones in the links, I’ll have to build it myself. :frowning:

Noticed the prices, eh?

Yeah, nothing like handworked components to cost more than my whole life.

Apart from the retarded parts, this is really a useful contribution to the debate, because Babbage’s difference engines look like the epitome of steampunk (apart from not being driven by steam, of course).

A replica of the difference engine.

Thank you.

I just picked up a copy of Victorian Homes magazine for the sole reason that it had an article in it about these people. It has a sidebar about these people. The item in the large picture on the latter page is a desktop computer made of a Victorian pipe organ. Boston area dopers, the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation in Waltham has an exhibit called “Steampunk Form & Function: An Exhibition of Innovation, Invention and Gadgetry” going on through May 10. Go now. When come back, bring zeppelin.