Steampunk Sewing Machine

I got an old sewing machine at goodwill and steamed it up with brassy bits! The propellers spin when the drive wheel and thread move. See the whole flickr set. This was an assignment in my sculpture/metalworking class. What can I say, I have a totally superfluous understanding of the movement, with little of the patience and attention to detail indicative of steampunk. I did learn how to use a bead blaster, though.

Steampunk Sewing Machine

Steampunk Sewing Machine

16 thoughts on “Steampunk Sewing Machine

  1. Pingback: Boing Boing
  2. Is this your first try at steampunk art?. You should study more about what is steampunk and especially study examples of excellent steampunk gadgets before attempting to make one. All I see here is that you managed to connect a few copper pipes, a water sprinkler head, a modern pressure gauge and a twisted copper plate that looks like a propeller to a very modern-looking sewing machine and call it steampunk. I applaud you for trying but you should work more on it.

  3. Honestly I think it looks a bit silly with those useless bits added on. I am very much a fan of steampunk, and that is just a sorry attempt at making something “steamy”.

  4. Wow, I think you did a good job. As for the negative commenters, I find it funny that you try and define what is and isn’t steampunk. Especially considering the fact that even the “experts” find it hard to define what steampunk is. It has found it’s way into music, fashion, and just about every other form of self expression. When you try to put restrictions on punk, it just isn’t punk anymore.

  5. This is a great project. I agree that it is hard to define what Steampunk really is. I realized the other day how much of a steampunk aesthetic the Golden Compass movie was. Reminded me of your sewing machine. I think it is awesome, and perfectly crafted. Nice work, lady.

  6. “Steampunk” is a merging of Victorian era mechanical items and modern technology…my understanding is that everything is supposed to work (do something) however. For example the sewing machine is supposed to sew, the dials would turn things on and off, etc. Given this, your item is basically art as opposed to genuine Steampunk.

  7. This is a very frustrating thing to look at. I understand The idea for having a gauge and a sprinkler valve in maintaing the pressure in a steam powered machine but this isnt steam powered and whats worse is that it could so very easily lend itself to becoming steam driven.

    why would it need a propeller? and why such a long shaft on the propeller?
    why would you use such mismatched metal? A modern knob from under the sink you couldn’t find anything better?

    the idea is there but it just looks so half assed…

  8. I hate to be a ‘tool’ like a few others, but I have to agree. This… is just a sad WWII era White/Kenmore with a bunch of stuff tacked onto it.

    It’s ironic because the sewing machine was America’s first great Victorian technological empire. Things didn’t get much more genuine steampunk than the once-mighty Singer Manufacturing Company and its competitors. And, before electric motors, machines were powered by treadle, by water and… [wait for it…] by steam. There was even at least one water motor sold and intended to be used in the home!

  9. To the naysayers, I would ask, “How many FUNCTIONAL Steampunk things have YOU made, steam-powered or otherwise?”

    Honestly, a lot of the Steampunk esthetic is decoration. Are there functional ray guns, rocket packs, or steam-powered prosthetic arms out there I haven’t noticed? Sure it’s cool when somebody makes a functional computer keyboard out of old typewriters, but that’s the exception. Most “casemods” are just bits added on, no different than this. The challenge is to EXPLAIN why the bits are there: in this case, one might say that the machine was modified for high-speed industrial sewing, hence the “cooling fan” and the sprinkler system lest the fabric catch fire in case of a jam–.

    Lighten up, people! It’s a first effort! Don’t be so bloody harsh.

  10. I learned to sew on that machine’s twin, in the 1950s.
    I think the pipes interfere with the pressure adjustment.

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