Fantabulous Contraptions

A look at Professor Tittiger's whimsical steampunk devices, and the story behind them

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Where most people see a conga, Professor Jakob J. Tittiger sees a Steampunk Submersible. A butter churn? No, it's a core component in a Steampunk Proton Pack. From objects like these, he makes "Fantabulous Contraptions" seen at events such as Clockwork Alchemy in San Francisco and Steamathon in Las Vegas.

Prof Tittiger

His interest in steampunk began about seven or eight years ago. "I'm a big collector of sci-fi props," he says. "On eBay I was looking at a ray gun, and one of the words that described it was 'steampunk.'" So he Googled the term, and decided, "That's what I'm going to do."

He arrives at his creations in two different ways. Sometimes he gets an idea, such as turning an electric bass into a "steam bass," and collects the needed pieces.

"The others are driven by the parts that I find," he says, such as the butter churn itching to become a proton pack. However, that contraption wasn't completed until he found an antique backpack frame, "which really ties it all together," he says.

The Professor has sage advice for others who want to follow his path. "Don't get discouraged," he suggests. At first, "I saw all these things that were museum quality," and didn't think he could achieve that look. But then he realized that he could create his contraptions from reclaimed items.

"The best place to start is small stuff that you can hang off your belt," he adds, such as his optical scanner or a handheld time bomb, which causes time to stop around your opponent.

One practical consideration: He designs the contraptions so they can be easily packed into the antique luggage that he carts to steampunk events. "It all fits in the back of my truck," he says.

Take a look in the gallery below.

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