I want to have a steampunk lamp. But what is steampunk anyway?

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?

IOW you want a decorative-looking kerosene lamp (or Argand lamp)?

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.

Rather than including ‘steampunk’ as a search term, you might try searching for an ‘industrial’ table lamp or a ‘deco’ desk lamp.

Can’t post link to item but try Carlisle desk lamp from Williston Forge on Wayfair.

Eeeek! Angler fish lamp.

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.

What about this?

I agree with using the word “industrial” in your searches rather than steampunk, as that should show more simple but “clunky” designs, if that’s what you’re looking for.

This one is really nice looking, though over your $100 price range. They have another more simple one that is $99 though (it shows above the item as a suggestion).

Industrial Design Lamp

No, that is overwrought nonsense and exactly why I am struggling to find what I want. The search results are overwhelmed with that kind of crap.

This is a good site! I found these ones that I like here, here, and here. I particularly like this grille shade (but not the concrete plinth).

And then I found this, which is exactly what I was describing I was looking for.

Awesome! Glad I could help. :slight_smile: Except…a bit of a bubble burster…did you see the International Shipping info?

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?

It’s just reassuring the aesthetic I want is around. Maybe I can find a local supplier.

I am surprised someone isn’t manufacturing a Jules Verne inspired “Ruhmkorff lamp”.

Adding one of these ‘Edison’ LED bulbs makes lots of things look more steampunk.

Theme song for this thread.

Oooh, love those LED bulbs, wonder if they have solar varieties? *la la la googly google* :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I came here to post this exact song, only to find out I’ve been beaten to the punch.

:musical_note: Just glue some gears on it and call it steampunk, that’s the trendy fashion nowadays. :notes:

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…

Top Hat with Goggles, and gears glued on in random places

These probably don’t light up a big area, but I got a Facebook spam ad for a “steampunk” flash drive.