The History of Steampunk - What is Steampunk?

The History of Steampunk

What is Steampunk? This is a question that has been asked by many people over the years. And, it's a tough question to answer because Steampunk can be interpreted in many ways. Some people might say that Steampunk is an aesthetic, while others might say that it's a lifestyle. But, at its core, Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction. And, this idea has inspired art and design for generations. In this blog post, we will explore the history of Steampunk and how it has influenced the world around us!

The Origin of the Term Steampunk

The term Steampunk comes from a combination of the words "steam" and "punk." Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, such as locomotives, airships, and robots. The earliest known use of the term Steampunk was in 1987, when it was used to describe the technological advancements of the future through the use of steam energy rather than electricity. This term was coined by the author of the novel Morlock Night, K.W. Jeter. Although this word was introduced in the late 80's it references many other works prior to its introduction. Many popular Steampunk references today include the works of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Mary Shelley.

Throughout the years Steampunk has become not just a literary subgenre, but an entire lifestyle for some people. There are Steampunk conventions, fashion shows, and even music festivals dedicated to this unique way of living. Popular game titles like Bioshock and the Witcher series have also been inspired by Steampunk. The most common references you can witness today are in fashion and art.

Art and Design

The steampunk aesthetic has been influential in the world of art and design for many years. In the early 2000s, there was a resurgence of interest in Steampunk, which led to a new wave. The Victorian era was a time of great change. New technologies were being developed and the world was becoming industrious. The Victorian-era style of Steampunk often features cogs, gears, top hats, and other ornate details. However, steampunk can also be set in other time periods and places, including the Wild West, ancient Greece, or even the future. Steampunk often incorporates elements of fantasy and horror, and it has been increasingly influenced by Japanese anime and manga in recent years. This can be seen in the growing popularity of steampunk-inspired fashion, which often combines Victorian-era clothing with futuristic or cyberpunk elements. Steampunk art and design has become increasingly prevalent in pop culture, appearing in films, television shows, video games, and even mainstream fashion.

Many steampunk enthusiasts are attracted to the subgenre for its unique aesthetic and its DIY spirit. As steampunk continues to gain popularity, its design style is also evolving. Today, steampunk artists are experimenting with new materials and technologies, as well as incorporating elements from other genres such as Cyberpunk and Dieselpunk. As time goes on, it is sure to continue to inspire artists and designers for many years to come and as steampunk continues to evolve, it is clear that the possibilities are endless.

Fashion & Style

In the world of fashion, you can see Steampunk influence in both men's and women's clothing. For example, corsets are a popular choice for many Steampunk enthusiasts. This is because they are not only stylish, but they also have a practical purpose. Corsets were originally designed to help support the back and posture. Another popular item of clothing is the top hat. Top hats were worn by both men and women during the Victorian era and are often seen in Steampunk fashion today. When it comes to steampunk fashion, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Steampunk styles range from Victorian-inspired looks to more futuristic designs, and the trend has only grown in popularity in recent years. While steampunk clothing might seem like a new phenomenon, the truth is that the style has been around for centuries. In fact, many of the elements that are now associated with steampunk fashion were first seen in the Victorian era. One of the most notable changes is the addition of modern elements to traditional steampunk looks. For instance, it's not uncommon to see steampunk clothing that features LEDs or other electronic components. As steampunk continues to evolve, we can only imagine what new styles and trends will emerge.

You can also see Steampunk influences in home décor and architecture. Many people who enjoy this aesthetic choose to decorate their homes with vintage or antique accessories that have rustic elements to them. Architecture that features steam-powered machinery or that is designed to look like it comes from a bygone era is also popular among Steampunk enthusiasts. In recent years, Steampunk has also been gaining popularity in the world of interior design. You can now find furniture and home décor items that have a steampunk aesthetic. If you're interested in giving your home a steampunk makeover, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started.

Steampunk Literature

The steampunk movement began to build in the late 1970s and early 1980s with the works of Tim Powers and James Blaylock. Blaylock's novel The Digging Leviathan (1984) featured an underground city run by Victorian-era steam engines, while Powers' In the Land of the Dragon (1980) featured a Chinese Empire where living creatures were powered by springs. The two authors are often credited with being the fathers of steampunk literature. Steampunk has become one of the most popular genres in recent years, with a growing number of fans all over the world.

Steampunk is a genre of speculative fiction that combines elements of science fiction and fantasy. Steampunk literature often features alternative histories in which steam-powered technology is prevalent, or stories set in the Victorian era with a steampunk twist. Steampunk books often explore themes of social injustice, class conflict, and technological innovation. Steampunk books often make reference to real-world historical events, such as the American Civil War or the Industrial Revolution. In addition, steampunk literature often features protagonists who are outcasts or misfits, giving readers someone to root for in a sometimes dark and gritty world. Because steampunk literature is relatively new, there are not yet any definitive steampunk classics. However, many steampunk writers have been nominated for and won major awards, and steampunk literature is gaining popularity all over the world. Some of the most well-known steampunk books include The Difference Engine by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, and The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross. Steampunk literature has something for everyone, so if you're looking for something new to read, be sure to check out some of the best steampunk books around.

Victorian Influences

The Victorian era was a time of great change in the Western world. This was the age of Queen Victoria, who reigned over the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1901. The Victorian era was marked by a number of important events, including the Industrial Revolution, the Crimean War, and the Irish Potato Famine. During this time, there were a lot of technological advancements that changed the way people lived and worked. One of the most notable changes was the introduction of steam-powered machinery, which had a major impact on the world of transportation. It was a period not only of rapid industrialization and urbanization, but as well as new ideas in art, literature, and fashion. Many of these innovations have had a lasting impact on modern culture. For example, the Victorian Era saw the advent of photography, which has now become an essential part of our lives. The popularity of Christmas cards also began during the Victorian Era, and this tradition is still going strong today. In addition, many of the norms and values that were established during the Victorian Era - such as a focus on respectability and propriety - are still influential today.

As you can see, Steampunk has a rich history full of interesting influences. If you're interested in learning more about this unique genre, be sure to check out some of the resources listed below.


One of the most interesting things about Steampunk is that it isn't just a style; it's also a community. There are many people who identify as Steampunks, and they often come together to share their love of all things Steampunk. You can check out events at SteampunkCons and The Steampunk Explorer.