The Power is in the Steam punk!
Written by Donald L Hughes, 2013
A popular genre today is referred to as “Steam-punk”. It is, I must admit, appealing in its attempt to recreate modern technologies to a more simpler function of steam-power. The retro-fitting gears and gadgets that make up guns, phones and computers are very imaginative, and fun. Even the clothing and hats create a longing for Victorian-era living, when life seamed more adventurous and exciting, with tales of yet-to-be wonders such as submarines, space travel and laser weapons. Even with H.G. Wells and Jules Verne characters far beyond the imagination of their times, there was something even more magic going on at the turn of the 19th century than science fiction, and the anachronistic technologies created in the steampunk world of today helps remind of what it was. The steam-power represents, in many ways, the magic that catapulted our lives into a whole new world, and that momentum hasn’t stopped since.
Take a look at a pot of water placed on a stove-top. We turn on the heat, and slowly the water temperature begins to rise. To 60, 100, 125, 150, 200, and then to 210 degrees! And at 211 we have…..hot water! Pretty boring stuff, but at 211 it will make for cleaner dishes and hands. But then, and only by 1 small degree, something magical happens. The water begins to boil, and soon the pot is moving and hissing and popping. At 212 degrees, steam is created. And steam, as we know, can power a 200,000 pound locomotive. It moved the world from horse-drawn wagons to trains, cutting travel time from weeks to days. It changed hand-made items to factory-built production and it built cities over-night. With steam came the railroad, and with the railroad came infrastructure and growth, mass production and innovation. It was the magic in the air that inspired and motivated Edison, Ford and Rockefeller. And all this, by tuning up the heat only 1 degree.
Today, we see others that are inspired and move us, from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to robot-maker Dennis Hing and biologist John Rinn. The magic of the steam-era was the passion that the nation builders had for their particular talent, and so it is today. Once imagination takes hold, and a passion begins to fuel it, miracles and life-changing events unfold. If we only upped our passion by 1 degrees, we can realize amazing results.
So, my proverbial top-hat’s off to the makers of “steam punk”, for taking us back to a time when pioneers of industry and invention risked all to create something better, and for reminding us that the magic of steam lies within each of us to realize our dreams and fuel our passions. After all, who ever heard of “luke-warm” power? It’s in the steam, punk.