The thing that makes steampunk so unique is that it adds a futuristic twist to outdated objects. This is the case for all steampunk items because steampunk is all about combining the beauty of the industrial, Victorian age with a science fiction, alternate reality. But recently a British inventor named Adam Vaughan gave a whole new meaning to modernizing old Steam Age inventions. He created a tickertape machine that can print twitter tweets as they are posted (they print the tweets from his account every 30 seconds).
Since the beginning of time, people have been concerned with providing themselves with money, food, and welfare for survival. When the stock market became a popular method of investment and money gain, it became crucial to provide yourself with the most updated information on the current market numbers. In the 19th century, tickertapes were invented to quickly publicize the latest stock prices by transferring the information over telegraph lines to far away finance offices. The prices were then printed out on small papers at the destination and distributed to the local clientele who had a stake in the market. The tickertape machines worked similarly to old Morse code machines in that crucial information was transferred thousands of miles away in a very short amount of time. In this way, finance companies kept up-to-date information on all the valuable stocks.
Vaughan created a modern version of this tickertape machine, but instead of transferring and printing out stock prices, it reads and prints all the tweets from the account that it’s hooked up to. When recreating a device such as this, you have two options: purchase an actual tickertape machine and repurpose it, or build a machine completely from scratch. Oddly enough, the cheaper option is the latter one, and that is what Vaughan decided to do. Made from second-hand elements taken from clocks, and incorporating old gears and cogs, his contraption is one of the latest and greatest steampunk inventions.
His current “Twittertape,” as he calls it, is able to download tweets from the web using an Ethernet cable. Vaughan is in the process of designing an upgraded model that has built in Wi-Fi capacity, although he doesn’t anticipate this new machine being marketable anytime soon.
Devices such as these can revolutionize the way people look at dated apparatuses. Vaughan developed a very functional and practical contraption based off an obsolete idea and using old-fashioned trinkets. The same can be done for many things: instead of throwing out your old clock, take it apart and use the gears within to create something you can still use. For instance, make steampunk earrings or fashion the old clock hands to your plain bracelets. There are many ways to repurpose your old junk into objects of sheer beauty and usefulness. For more DIY steampunk jewelry ideas, click here.
When you look at the broken everyday objects in your house as a canvas from which you can build contemporary devices, the possibilities really are endless.