The Steampunk genre (or more correctly, sub-genre) encompasses movies, clothing, art, fiction, jewelry, sculpture and more. It draws heavily from old fashioned technology and appeals to those of us interested in technology, fantasy, and exploring mixing materials from different times and places.
I never really thought about why Steampunk is called Steampunk (as opposed to Technopunk for example) until I visited the Treadgar Iron Works in Richmond Virginia. Tredgar churned out ammunition for the Confederacy during the Civil War, but also manufactured steam locomotives and other new inventions of the Industrial Revolution. The perfection of the steam engine changed everything and took large parts of the Western World from an Agrarian to an Industrial Economy. Hey-sometimes it takes me a long time to see the obvious, and then I see it everywhere.
Here are some pictures I took of the old machinery at Tredgar.
The first museum exhibition of Steampunk design will take place at the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University later this year. This is appropriate in so many ways. Be sure to check out the blog devoted to the exhibit.