Technologies from the dusty attic of the past can have as much mystery,
excitement, and allure as those we imagine are just over the horizon.
Today’s amateur techno-historians don’t just want to read about the gadgets
of yesteryear, they want to build them, to interact with their constituent parts,
right down to the rivet heads and hand-blown triodes.
Perhaps because modern technology seems so gray-box drab and utilitarian by comparison,
retro makers like to bring the hand-built sensibilities of the past into their technosphere,
re-casing their gadgets in highly ornamented forms of wood, brass, leather, and copper.
There’s no end to how we can revive, recast, and refashion the machinery of the past, and meld
it with the technology of the present. In this issue, we explore “steampunk” and the revival
of steam power, relief-etched illuminated printing, the art of mechanical time-keeping,
and brilliant makers of centuries past. We’ll demonstrate how to build a parlor-proven
electrostatic generator, a vacuum siphon coffee brewer, an engine with a teacup power
source, and much more. ☞