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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Steampunk Nautical

A customer recently visited our gallery searching for items to use in a house that he was in the process of remodeling. The theme of the interior he said was "steampunk" and he was searching for items that related to the Victorian era, the days of steam power and industrial technology.
Authentic 19th century  ship's binnacle in steampunk interior.
"You're in the right place, I said. That would certainly include the age of steam powered ships and that is the type of items that we carry." It didn't take long for him to grasp what I was talking about. 

I left him to browse around and I could tell that he was quite excited about his discovery and started taking pictures of items of interest. He left an hour later with numerous ideas and images of items well suited for his new interior. 

Not knowing much about the design concept steampunk, I decided to do a little research to become familiar with what it is. I looked up the word on Wikipedia and the short definition is: "Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery." The longer version stated "Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century's British Victorian era or American "Wild West", in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. Steampunk may, therefore, be described as neo-Victorian. Steampunk ... is rooted in the era's perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, and art. Such technology may include fictional machines like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne."
Steampunk interior using a porthole and door wheel
creating an old steamship feel to the space.

Movies such as Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law and the Wild Wild West with Will Smith and Kevin Kline demonstrate steampunk design and technology in that fantastic world as described above. I researched further and Googled steampunk interiors that led to completed steampunk designed rooms using all types of gears, tubes, and gizmos of various types, all from old steam engines and salvaged from closed factories. Then I found photos of maritime ship parts and instruments salvaged from ships of the past. Perfect! Now I know why our customer left our showroom with such excitement. He had discovered a gold mine of nautical steampunk!

Nautical brass porthole re-purposed
into an end table.
There are numerous nautical items that can be incorporated into a steampunk room. Ship's binnacles and telegraphs, early ship's lamps and lighting, compasses, portholes and windows made of brass, old brass steam whistles, brass or bronze steering stations, old blocks and bells, steam gauges, sextants and octants, marine clocks and barometers are all good choices to use in the steampunk environment. Furniture can be produced using old hatch covers with metal banded ends, teak grates, portholes and windows re-purposed into coffee and end tables. Spot lights, cage lights, passageway lights and fox lights suspended on metal poles or chains for overhead lighting. These are all perfect items for creating a beautiful steampunk nautical interior! 

Images below are just a few of the many authentic old maritime items that would be great choices for creating a magnificent steampunk interior. You may want to bookmark the NEW! Just In! section of our web store to be the first to see our latest arrivals as they come available. Cheers!
Copper and brass ship's spotlight.

Brass ship's porthole with battle cover would be a super item for a steampunk room.
Old ships steering station with brass wheel

Late 19th century ships binnacle.

Hatch cover coffee table with metal banded ends.
90 degree nautical passageway or engine room light.
Ships window re-purposed in to a mirror.

Teak ships grate table.

Skipjack Nautical Wares 
& Marine Art Gallery
620 High Street, Portsmouth, VA 23704
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