Steampunk Digest - April 27, 2018

New feature: A roundup of news, products, and other happenings in the steampunk world

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Steampunk Digest is a new feature that will bring you news and other info from around the web. Use the Newsletter Signup form to receive it in your inbox.

Signing Machine

Swiss watchmaker Jaquet Droz commemorated its 280th anniversary with the release of The Signing Machine, a compact automaton that can write your signature — if you can afford the six-figure price tag. The gadget is inspired by the Writer and the Draughtsman, automata devised in the 18th century by company namesake Pierre Jaquet Droz. Those works are now on display at the Neuchâtel Museum of Art and History in Switzerland.

As with the historic automata, The Signing Machine is a true "clockwork robot," powered by a wind-up mechanism and guided by cams that are coded with the user's signature. Each unit is assembled and programmed by hand. The user chooses decorative elements as well as a four-digit code that activates the machine. Starting price: $367,000.

Frostpunk

Frozen steam: Frostpunk is a new "society survival" video game set in an alternate-history 1886 England beset by extreme cold. It's received generally favorable reviews. "Frostpunk combines the best elements of survival, city-building, and 4X games into one of the more captivating strategy games I’ve played in a while," writes Caley Roark on IGN.

And this from Ars Technica: "One part survival game and one part city builder, Frostpunk doesn’t give you time to play around. The citizens of this frozen, alternate-history England are cold, hungry, restless, and despairing. . . Minor issues hold it back but not enough to ruin its grim vision of alternate history." Developed and published by 11 bit Studios, it's available for Windows PCs.

Jonathan Fesmire, author of Bodacious Creed, a Steampunk Zombie Western, is seeking Kickstarter funding for the sequel, Bodacious Creed and the Frisco Syndicate. A pledge of $120 will earn you a spot as a character. The story is set in an alternate-world 1876 San Francisco. See his website for more info.

uKeg

Jersey Bites ("A Quest for Food with Attitude"), is the latest to review the uKeg growler from GrowlerWerks. Beer editor Peter Culos writes that it reminds him of a steampunk contraption. "The uKeg, with its stainless steel, brass tubing and pressure gauge, really looks the part," he opines. The gadget is designed to keep craft beer fresh and carbonated after you've left the microbrewery. It's available in two sizes and two colors (stainless and copper-plated), at prices ranging from $149 to $229.

The News Wheel, a website for auto enthusiasts, suggests "Affordable, Creative Ways to Make Any Car Look Steampunk." Among the suggestions: Remove the brand logo; apply copper or bronze paint; outline seams with fake rivet heads; and add accessories such as an exterior horn, hood ornament and smokestacks.

Upcoming Events

C.O.G.S. Expo, May 4-6, Piscataway, NJ. This all-volunteer event replaces the ill-fated Steampunk World's Fair. Details.

The Refugees of Steampunk Music Extravaganza! May 6, Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen, NJ. Six hours of steampunk music featuring acts from the C.O.G.S. Expo. Guests include Scott Helland Guitarmy of One-ness, The Eternal Frontier, A Halo Called Fred, Victor and the Bully, Montague Jacques Fromage/SteampunkFunk Bizarre, Nicole Oliva, Coveilance Dance Project and Chelsea Goodwin. The event runs from noon to 6 p.m. Details.

Kraken Watch 2018, May 4 - 6, Quileute Oceanside Resort, Forks, WA. Steampunk gathering, with possible Kraken appearances, on the Pacific Coast in Washington. Details.

Spring Steam Day 2018, May 4, Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA. Steampunks gather at Disneyland for group photos, a group train ride and other activities. Details.

WHOlanta, May 4 - 6, Hilton Atlanta Airport. A convention for fans of Doctor Who and other British media. Details.

The Firefly Shindig, May 5, Alameda Elks Lodge, Alameda, CA. Music and dance themed to Joss Whedon's "Firefly" and "Serenity." Details.

Time Traveler Weekend, May 5 - 6, Renaissance Pleasure Faire, Irwindale, CA. Faire visitors are invited to "dress up in your finest time-traveling attire." Activities include a Steampunk Costume Contest and group photo on Saturday. Sunday's contest is "Epic Accessories." Details.

Wild West Steam Fest, May 5, Heritage Museum of Orange County, Santa Ana, CA. This one-day steampunk festival includes maker workshops, panel discussions, vendors, and more. Details.

Website tips

The "Locations by Topic" section in the right sidebar lets you look up museums and other locations in various categories, such as Medicine and Fashion. Even if you don't live near one of these locations, the websites often include online collections.

The Architecture category includes structures with notable Victorian-era architecture. Many listings have small photos, but you can click on the Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons links to see the full-size versions.

If you're viewing the site on a mobile device, scroll down to see the topics section.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the misspelling of Jonathan Fesmire's name and the name of the Wild West Steam Fest.

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