What in the world is Steampunk? Where did it come from? How can I distinguish it?

You've found yourself on this website because you may have happened across Victorian Folly at a local artisans market or a convention of the comic variety. As mentioned in Our Story, Michelle has always been obsessed with Science Fiction and first encountered the universe of Steampunk at the Phoenix comic convention known as Phoenix Fan Fusion. Through some additional research and personal history, Victorian Folly is proud to present this brief page, What is Steampunk?

The universe of Steampunk is fueled by steam. Technology in this universe is just as advanced as our modern world, but instead of the use of gas or electricity, power is found in steam. First mentions of the term "steampunk" date to 1987 by K.W. Jeter, author of Morlock Night. Other authors from the 19th century such as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Mary Shelly are all considered forefathers of steampunk as their writings allude to steampunk but never explicitly used the term. 

Outside of novel writing, Steampunk gained additional popularity with the tabletop RPG (role-playing game) Space:1889. The game focuses on Victorian-era space exploration and was first introduced in 1989 by Frank Chadwick in a 216-page hardcover manual.

When most people think of Steampunk, extravagant cosplay comes to most peoples' mind. Steampunk aesthetic features fashions from the Victorian era (1837-1901), the French Belle Epoque era (1871-1914), and the American Civil War era (1861-1865). These fashions are modernized by the integration of steam-powered mechanical elements and exposed gears. Steampunk fashion is tied together by the use of various accessories, usually goggles, parasols, pocket watches, or headwear. 

If you've seen Michelle at a con or at a market, you may have seen her in her own Steampunk cosplay. While the Phoenix heat can be unforgiving to a corseted, petticoat wearer, you will definitely see her sporting a fun top hat/fascinator or other accessories. 

1. Steampunk Avenue
2. Steampunk Wiki