In the 19th and early 20th centuries, many people were fascinated with technology and new inventions. Anything that was mechanical caught people’s attention. The Victorian era was marked by an explosion in both industrialization and science. This led to the establishment of various societies dedicated to the appreciation of Victorian culture, or “Victorianism” as it was known. These included the Arts and Crafts movement, which focused on the handmade and craftsmanship; the Decorative Art Movement; and the Arts and Literature Society (Victorian Literature), which focused on literature from this period.
Steampunk is a subculture that emerged during this era as a result of these various groups all coming together to celebrate their shared love of Victoriana in one place. This is because steampunk is essentially a modern interpretation of Victorian era aesthetics, fusing together science-fiction with steam-powered machinery, such as mechanical computers, automata, flying machines, airships, cars with internal combustion engines or steam power and sometimes even magic.
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk is an aesthetic that fuses science fiction with Victorian era aesthetics. Steampunk enthusiasts re-imagine and reconstruct Victoriana into the realms of science fiction and fantasy, using mechanical machinery as the basis for their creations. Steampunk has a number of defining characteristics, such as:
-The use of steam power to create the machines in steampunk’s vision
-An emphasis on creating one’s own costume and being costumed accordingly
-A focus on adventure stories, particularly those set during this period
-A focus on “retrofuturism” (taking inspiration from the past to imagine something different)
-A focus on mechanical rather than chemical processes
When was steampunk popular? Steampunk became popular after it was introduced in the late 1980s.
Steampunk Literature and Films
Steampunk has been most prominent in literature, with the first written example being in 1818 by William Morris.
This steampunk era influenced many of today’s popular works, including the young adult novel “Wool” by Hugh Howey, as well as films like “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”
Steampunk is still a relatively new concept and has only had a few decades to develop. So, when did this concept become popular? It is likely that the Victorian era was responsible for the early development of steampunk.
Steampunk Fashion and Art
Many people believe that the fashion and aesthetic of steampunk is one of the most important things about this subculture. One of the main ways in which Victoriana was embraced was through fashion and art. This is because there was an explosion in creative experimentation, leading to a lot of different styles, all related to what was going on at the time. Steampunk uses Victorian era aesthetics as a basis for its style, but also adds in some modern twists, such as metallic prints, leather or lace embellishments, and other cool materials. Plus, it has been noted that the style is very versatile. You can use Victorian-era clothing with steampunk-style accouterments to create a style that feels nostalgic and old-fashioned while still looking contemporary and edgy. The steampunk aesthetic also includes artwork like oil paintings, drawings and sculptures based on 19th century themes like science fiction or romanticism.
The main characteristic that separates steampunk from other Victorian trends is its reliance on technology. This comes from a combination of artistic creativity and scientific ingenuity—two subjects that were so prevalent during this period in history. Steampunk artists took these two themes in stride to invent new styles for their artwork inspired by their love for Victoriana.
History of Steampunk
The concept of Steampunk began in the 1980s, when the science fiction author K.W. Jeter wrote a novel entitled The Difference Engine: A Romance of London and the Machine that Changed the World.
In 1985, Mark Twain’s 26th birthday was marked by an event called Steampunk Day with over 500 people attending, which laid to rest any doubt as to whether steampunk is or is not real.
In 1989, Chris Evans founded a magazine called Amazing Stories coined “Amazing Stories International”, which encouraged people to imagine what would happen if Victorian era technology were reinvented today and played up its fantastical side.
The first steampunk convention was held on December 31, 1993 in New York City. This first convention was also attended by some future members of the science fiction television show Doctor Who.
In 2005, this article by Cory Doctorow entitled “A Modest Proposal” helped make steampunk popular with readers of science fiction magazines on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Popular Culture and Why We Love It
It’s no surprise that Steampunk has become a popular culture. Steampunk is trendy, interesting, and easy to get into. This is because the majority of people love to see their interests reflected in pop culture.
When a subculture becomes mainstream, it’s not just a fad anymore, even if there are still those who prefer to be “in the know”. Remember how everyone used to dress like goths or punks? Those days are gone now as those subcultures have now become mainstream so that anyone can be a part of them. The same goes for steampunk; it’s no longer niche. The genre has been adopted by many people from various different age groups and backgrounds because it speaks to their interests or their interests have been shaped by things like steampunk-related media such as video games, movies, literature and television shows.
Steampunk is a subculture and a popular movement in the world of fashion, art and literature.
The term “Steampunk” was coined by K.W. Jeter in 1986 to describe the “punk” aesthetic of Victorians. Steampunk is a vision of a Victorian-era society that never really existed, but the idea of their technology and their culture is one many people love to imagine. In other words, STEAMPUNK!
If you’re interested in learning more about this subculture and its punk aesthetic, take a look at a few of these popular steampunk books, films and fashion items.