The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

Arguably any steampunk outfit is only truly complete with the proper accessories. Clothing defines the time period you are in but your accessories define who and what you are emulating. Whether you are a soldier, a medic, a engineer, a blacksmith, a court jester, or a noblemen.

The cut and style of your clothing, the way you carry yourself these help to enhance the character you are representing, however what keeps people interested in your outfit? What separates a passing glance from a 15 minute conversation about your outfit/character?

It's your accessories, your gadgets, your working bits of Victorian technology. Having dynamic costume elements is always a bonus but when you have Something you can hold in your hand and have it do something, you can then hand it to somebody else and have them work it. Such items engage the audience within your "display"and keeps them entertained. Even something as simple as say a compass can be made to entertain your audience by bringing along a map to go with your compass and mapping out the root that you took to get to the convention As you regale them with your tail crossing the freezing mountain pass and how lost you would've been without your trusty compass.

Well it would seem that I've gone a bit off base from what I had originally planed to say...

Indeed it strikes me now that most In the steampunk community are already well aware of the benefits of accessorizing still is my understanding that this is what blogs are for and I'm trying to be more social so there it is.

What I was originally going to talk about was the accessories I got today for my own steam punk outfit.

I got all of this from my grandparents farm. It was a few years ago now that they passed on, the estate is still being settled and the usual family drama is ensuing. Anyway my great-grandfather on my mothers side was the one that built this farm he was an architect in Chevy Chase Maryland for a number of years sometime during the depression he convinced a number of his neighbors to close up shop and move with him out into the middle of nowhere and start farming.

So, this farm is far older than I am and because it was built by someone who lived through the Great Depression they saved every bit of frass, trash, junk, and scrap you can imagine. And now there is three generations worth of this "stuff".

So here's what I managed to scrape up today

Copper weatherstripping, drill press, Industrial wall-molding samples, fishing tackle box, couple of random tools, 2 jars Springs, copper and brass pipe fittings, hinges, Navigational Compass, Curtain rod hangers, washers, more copper weatherstripping, architect drafting tools and pencils, 2 flashlights, air pistol ( 1930s vintage from what I can tell), oh and that cat there on the right side.

I'm only half kidding I didn't get him today but he is from the farm his name is Oliver Underfoot (I think you can guess how he got that name) (Darn camera changed his eye color.)

That green velvet case... Yeaaa I have no idea what those things are... they appear to be some kind of compass I'm pretty sure it has something to do with draftsmanship/architectural drawings I just have no idea how it's supposed to be used. one of them holds lead the other one is a sharp pin for keeping in place. But they're not joined....




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Comment by Bronze Knight on May 5, 2012 at 8:38pm

Shiny!

Comment by Dr. David M. MacMillan on May 4, 2012 at 11:36pm

Each of the two main pieces (lead holder and point holder) should have a rectangular (or thereabouts) hole through it.  You can use any rod that these two will slide on and clamp to.  The rod does not provide any calibration.  You set it to some external standard and it "transfers" that measurement.  For example, you could set it to a ruler, or a yardstick, or you could set it to an existing measurement on a drawing or a machine, and then draw a circle of twice that measurement.

Go to the Google Books "Advanced Search" page:  http://books.google.com/advanced_book_search

Plug "Walter George Stephan" into the author box and "Drawing instruments: their use and abuse" in for the title.   On p. 77 of this book is shown a Beam Compass very much like yours, together with a description of its operation.

Congratulations both on this and the Planimeter.  Planimeters are as close to magic as a machine can get!

(Both would, in fact, be useful tools for airship design if one wanted a Steampunk angle.)

Comment by Bronze Knight on May 4, 2012 at 10:59pm

Ah thank you for the identification! Could you use a simple ruler as the rod or is it only meant to be used with a special kind? I also have a Compensating Planimeter which in also my great grandfathers. and have no fear I intend to keep them just as they are and If all possible using them should the occasion arise!

Comment by Dr. David M. MacMillan on May 4, 2012 at 9:28pm

The instrument in the green case is a form of a "Beam Compass."  You supply the "beam" and slide the lead holder and the point holder onto it.  This lets you draw arbitrarily large circles.  This particular Beam Compass is equipped with a Micrometer adjustment (the screw and pivoted piece) to let you make fine adjustments.  You can find illustrations of similar compasses in older books of drawing and surveying instruments.  See, for example, the edition of Gurley's Manual of Surveying Instruments online at The Internet Archive:

http://archive.org/details/gurleymanualsur03nygoog

A Beam Compass boxed like yours is shown on page 367.  A Beam Compass with a slightly different-looking, but mechanically equivalent, micrometer mechanism is shown on page 368.

I would beseech you to treat it with respect and not to cannibalize it into a prop.  It is a fine instrument which, while obsolete, still deserves to be preserved.

Regards,

Dr. David M. MacMillan

dmm at lemur dot com

www.CircuitousRoot.com

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