A Call for Makers in Waltham

The Watch City festival wants contraptions that “arrest the eye and tickle the brain”

Monday, October 8, 2018
Mad Scientist

The Watch City Steampunk Festival is seeking entries for the “Mad Science Exhibition,” a new feature at next year’s event, which is scheduled for May 11, 2019, in downtown Waltham, Massachusetts. “Competitors will submit an ‘invention’ in the form of a contraption, construct, or kinetic sculpture — stylized to suit the Steampunk aesthetic — that demonstrate a principle, perform a task, or produce some manner of captivating display,” the website states. “We’re looking for perpetual motion engines, Useless Machines (a la Theo Jansen or Rube Goldberg), garage-built automata, things to arrest the eye and tickle the brain.”

Entries will be displayed in an “Inventor’s Tent” at the festival, and attendees will vote for their favorite contraptions. First-, second-, and third-place awards will be presented during the closing ceremonies.

To be considered, the entry “must be represented by some manner of physical contrivance; a device or contraption to exhibit a principle or perform a task,” the rules state. It should have a title indicating its status as a “remarkable invention,” such as “Professor Villiard’s Infinity Engine.” Its footprint cannot be larger than 3-by-3 feet, and the inventor is responsible for transporting the entry to and from the festival grounds.

The website includes an entry form that must be submitted by Nov. 1. You should be able to provide a “working prototype” by March, 2019.

Held each year on Waltham Common, the festival has drawn as many as 10,000 visitors, making it one of the largest steampunk events in the U.S. Waltham is known as “Watch City” due to its history as a center of watch and clock manufacturing. It’s about 10 miles west of Boston.

Photo: Adobe Stock


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