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steampunk

Contributor(s): Kaitlin Herbert

Steampunk is a design style inspired by Victorian-era industrialism. Science fiction author K.W. Jeter is created the term steampunk in 1987 to describe a style of fantasy fiction that featured Victorian technology, especially technology powered by steam. The style first appeared in mainstream pop culture in the late 2000s and currently is used in several design genres including fashion, literature, film, television, video games and DIY projects.

The steampunk genre was originally inspired by the fictional works of Jules Verne, Mary Shelley and H.G. Wells, who wrote popular science fiction romances in the late 1800s. Today, the steampunk genre emphasizes both the use of older technologies as well as retro-looking futuristic inventions as people in the 19th century might have imagined them.

Steampunk designs often mix digital media with traditional Victorian designs. For example, a steampunk-inspired desktop mouse might have additional mechanical parts such as brass fittings, gears, manual typewriter keys or wind-up keys. Steampunk modifications for modern technology such as tower servers, keyboards, flash drives and gaming controllers are called "mods."

A steampunk USB 32GB flash drive.
This was last updated in March 2017

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