So now that I have moved into my new place and settled down a bit, I want to populate it with knick knacks and furniture that suit my eclectic tastes. And one idea I had was to have a soft-glow table lamp with a steampunk aesthetic, for my living room.
So I googled some of those terms, looked on Etsy and Amazon, and get mostly variations on the same ugly theme of what I definitely do not envisage, and sometimes almost approaching what I want, but not actually what I want.
What I see mostly are people jamming brass pipes and clock parts together in a haphazard cacophony and calling it a day. They think steampunk is purely bits and pieces, and not a whole vibe. In my mind, steampunk is a practical item, something that didn’t really exist at the time, so was in their minds a science fiction device, but built using the resources available at the time (Victorian era).
So the kind of lamp I want would have a base made from a candlestick, a metal switch that was large and chunky and with an audible clunk, a bulb that glows orange, and a shade made of a grille or cage. All for under $100. I have seen almost this in many designs, but then they ruin it with extra ugly doodads, or the wrong materials, or just no idea what they’re doing.
So my question is: Does anyone know of a store that “gets it”? Who understands that steampunk is not just gluing gears on things and spray painting it brass colour, who provides items that are simple, affordable, and fit the aesthetic I am after?
That would be amazing, though it looks expensive. But yes, I did see some antique lanterns that were adapted into a lamp, and did go down that route a bit, but that wasn’t quite steampunky enough for what I am after. That image looks a lot more my thing.
On eBay I see some interesting combination thermometer table lamps, or thermometer and barometer table lamps. If you paired them with one of the fancy steampunk industrial LED bulbs and/or a tiffany shade, they might look rather steampunk.
That was what I always understood “steampunk” to mean – imagining what modern technology would look like if it were built during the Victorian era. But in my experience, many people seem to think it means “take an item and glue a bunch of gears and brass steam gauges to it.”
Of course, electric lamps actually did exist during the late part of the Victorian era, albeit they would have been brand new technology at the time. So maybe what you actually want is an antique Victorian lamp?
I will be attending the Big River Steampunk Festival next week. The last time I was there, a few of the vendors had collections of steampunk lamps, which was the first time I saw some of the nifty LED bulbs.
Ooo! Switching to my steampunk avatar while I am thinking about it…