An Introduction to Art Deco Wall Masks (Part 2)

| March 5, 2014

In the first part of this two part article I provided some information in respect of the immediate background to the vogue for Art Deco wall masks. Here I want to focus upon some of the major manufacturers and specific types of mask any buyer might expect to encounter. I’ll commence with the firm of Cope & Co. as Cope masks are some of the easiest to come across especially in the UK.

C & Co Mask Mod No 1 (length 18cm)

J. H. Cope & Co.
Wellington Works, Longton, England.

James Cope’s Wellington works (Staffordshire) had a very short history running only sixty years between 1887 and 1947. Largely known for producing everyday china with floral, landscape and later geometric decoration their wares were nearly always marked with a trademark incorporating the Duke of Wellington. However, during the 1930s in what seems to be an offshoot of their major business they began producing a range of wall masks which used an alternative impressed mark of C & Co. or C Ltd. England.

These impressed marks are a great help to the collector for a variety of reason. First of all they always include a model number. Secondly, it was not uncommon for factories to produce near copies (often without obtaining permission) of wares by international rivals. In the case of Cope, models No 1 & 6 among others were fairly direct copies of masks produced by Royal Dux (see more below).

  C Ltd Mod No 21 (18cm) 

more present than past or future this time round

| September 10, 2013

If you're anywhere near Lincoln (UK) this weekend, do check out their steampunk celebration!


Isaac Asimov thought that 2014 would be…well...actually, pretty much like it is in 2013.


Considering some steampunky decor? Here's a nice round-up of what people have done.


Morse Code has disappeared from modern society (recent mention from Ylvis notwithstanding), but if you'd like to use it, fear not; here's a handy decryptor for a web page!

Steamstock Chicago — Stirring Steampunk in the Windy City

| August 6, 2013

Salutations from Chicago!

On Tuesday, July 23rd, if you had walked down Lincoln Avenue in Chicago’s bustling Lincoln Park, you would have passed the usual college lurking spots for DePaul students. In fact, let us imagine now that you are walking this route, and you are passing the average amount of faux-Irish pubs filled to the brim with pulsing music, yelling patrons and a significant amount of cologne and perfume clogging the air. If you kept walking, however, you might have found yourself looking at a willowy figure of a woman leaning lightly upon a snake-headed walking stick. At first she seems simply to be in costume of some form — perhaps a performer from one of the nearby theatres of Chicago’s teeming storefront theatre scene — but upon closer approach, it is more than mere artifice. She is exquisitely decked in a bustled skirt and striped stockings, and her chapeau is beyond describing, her fire-engine-red hair perfectly curled and styled about her shoulders.

She smiles when she sees you, peering over round, dark spectacles. “Hello, good evening! I think you’ll find what you’re looking for in here,” she says, gesturing with the silver snake head of her cane into the pub beside her.

Inside, a small handful of dapper men and decadent ladies mill about the bar, which is decorated with antique objects of all sorts. There are modern lights and a television screen or two, but the decor is clearly drawing influences from other eras for a delightful mix. There is even a faux-library on a small landing overlooking the bar in the corner, where one might recline on red velvet chairs or a loveseat. A red velveteen curtain separates half of the room from the other, presumably because the performers are finishing their soundchecks before the concert begins. A merch table filled with CDs, t-shirts, and other unique memorabilia is attended by one or two people, but for now there is not much of a crowd and everyone is quietly socializing with their drinks.

Fiction Review: Ack-Ack Macaque

| February 22, 2013

Publisher: Solaris
Review by Belle Cooper

ackackTo hear author Gareth L Powell tell it, it all started started quite simply: with a name. It was his job only to find the character and the story that name belonged to. He’s since managed to do so twice, first with a short story appearing in the UK fiction magazine “Interzone”, and later with a full-length novel. That name, Ack-Ack Macaque, was so evocative that he used it to title both works. It certainly makes for a hell of a draw: a monkey in an eye-patch and a bomber jacket, with a nasty demeanor and a heart of gold, who spends much of his time either dogfighting over Europe or taking out Nazi ninjas–no, really–with his twin Colts, chomping on a cigar the whole way.

Everybody loves the monkey.

Ack-Ack Macaque isn’t so much steampunk as cyberpunk with steam and diesel detailing. While airships and their delightful governmental autonomy do play a central role in the novel, they’re powered by nuclear reactors rather than steam engines. The year is 2054, and the UK is about to celebrate its centennial with the launch of a Mars probe. That’s the United Kingdom of Great Britain, France, Ireland, and Norway, by the way, a union forged in 1954 when France voluntarily gave itself over to British rule in the wake of World War II. Since then, it seems, the sun never set on the British Empire; one of the central threats of the climax is the possibility of nuclear war with China over Britain’s refusal to give up control of Hong Kong.

Our main characters are Victoria Valois, a reporter-turned-cyborg out to solve the mystery of her husband’s murder; Merovech, the reluctant teenage crown prince of the UK; and the titular Ack-Ack Macaque, star of the world’s most popular video game, gone AWOL and rogue into the real world. In classic cyberpunk fashion, the novel takes on questions about identity and the nature of reality in a world of advanced technology that includes artificial intelligence and computerized neural enhancements. All three characters find themselves facing these questions throughout the novel as their ideas about the world and their place in it are turned on their heads. Victoria, at least, has some small advantage, having two years of experience hacking her own brain under her belt.

The 2013 Modernist Revival – part 1

| January 3, 2013

I’ve just come back from a seasonal trip to the UK, and I found evidence of a renewed interest in Modernism, Mod culture, and all kinds of artifacts from the Dieselpunk Era. For example, one major brewery (Elgood’s) has been encouraging its pubs to restore their interior furnishings to their original designs – by which, they meant the Twenties and Thirties. Here are shots taken in the Wagon and Horses pub, Cambridge.  

More later!

Lost Souls of the Asylum Now Available

| October 3, 2012

Lost Souls of the Asylum is a Steampunk compilation forged in the bowels of our very own forum.  As seen Here , after submissions, editing, and publishing you may now aquire this fine collection.  The Asylum is in reference to the Asylum Steampunk Convention that takes place in the UK And you can find out more information about it on it’s main website.

As you can tell by the forum chain, this operation was choreographed by our own Arkwright.  I wanted to spotlight this work as a tremendous undertaking and a wonderful opportunity for  budding authors.

Arkwright tells the forum in post 137, there are plans for another volume.

The book is available online along with the previous two volumes of The Asylum Chronicles from

Reproduction Vintage

| September 11, 2012

Sometimes it can be frustrating to find a perfect vintage item that is just one size too small, and short of having corrective surgery, one is never going to fit inside it. This is where reproduction vintage has its uses, producing a range of sizes for every garment, all designed with an introspective delve into past clothing construction.

Darcy Clothing. Both on-line and with a charming little shop in Lewes, East Sussex, the Darcy Clothing range specialises in workwear styles from the 1930s and 40s, with spearpoint collared shirts, drill jackets and high -back fishtail waisted trousers. Darcy also stocks a large range of formal wear, including a vast range of stiff collars.

20th Century Foxy. An online boutique selling vintage reproduction and retro-styled clothing for ladies inspired by the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including dresses, swing pants, jeans and accessories. They produce their own range of clothing as well as stocking the ‘Stop Staring’ range.

Wallace’s Home Boutique. A vintage-inspired collection of gifts and home wares in a beautiful Grade 2 listed building known locally as the “witchball”. Wallace’s sells original vintage artefacts as well as modern retro designs reflecting a golden era of design from the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Pin-up Parade. Long-established on-line retailer of pin-up, rockabilly, swing and dieselpunk clothing. Starting life as a gallery showcasing pin-up-style portraits, it has hundreds of stunning photographs as well as interviews and articles. Pin-up parade is the UK stockist for Swagger Joint Clothing – luxury reproduction dresses made in the UK.

Huge German zeppelin memorabilia sale in the UK

| July 4, 2012


Came across an interesting article in the Mail Online about a British pensioner who is placing over 600 items of zeppelin memorabilia for sale on the 25th of July, in East Sussex, UK.  Many are original pieces, including items form the Hindenburg, but the overarching theme revolves around German zeppelins.  However, some are pieces appear to be replicas, such as the zeppelin salt shaker above, though the article did give the impression the majority of the items were originals.  To read the article in full, please turn to the Mail Online article, located at:

Steampunk World’s Fair!

| May 11, 2012

We’re all excited and getting ready for the 3rd Steampunk World’s Fair in New Jersey next week, and hope a lot of you are able to join us.

It was the World’s Fair that actually directly led to the rebirth of SteamPunk Magazine: the magazine had been languishing for some time after the burnout of our UK editor (who took it over after MY burnout), but the SPWF renewed my faith in our culture. So I can’t thank the organizers of this event enough.

Magazine contributors will be running a number of panels, and bands we’ve featured will be performing. It’s going to be wonderful.

Event of Interest: Anna Chen Presents "Traders" Feb 16

| January 31, 2012

I had the honour of having British-Chinese comedienne Anne Chen drop in on this here little blawg to plug an upcoming event in Greenwich, UK! It’s a Steampunk Opium Wars extravaganza, at the Greenwich National Maritime Museum, where there will be song and poetry about the Opium Wars, and folks playing historical figures from the time period will slug it out in poetry slams over the finer details of waging war to push drugs on an entire people to enslave them in a consumer market for trade benefits. 

An official-looking page can be found on the Royal Museums Greenwich site, and the major details are as follows:
Dates: Thursday 16 February
Times: 18.30—22.00
Fee: FREE – but make sure you book ahead of time!!
Location: National Maritime Museum; Sammy Ofer Wing
Audience: Adults; Young people
Event type: Performance & storytelling
So if you’re in the vicinity of Greenwich, UK, I highly recommend you go check it out, and please make recordings if possible to share with the rest of us! :O

Interview: Steampowered Globe Editor Maisarah Abu Samah

| January 18, 2012

A while back, I posted the Table of Contents for the Singaporean steampunk anthology, The Steampowered Globe, and I got to chatting to its editor, Maisarah Abu Samah, about putting it together. And I thought ya’ll might find it interesting, especially any of you in Asia (and I know some of you are from Asia), to read a very frank interview from Maisarah about the anthology and spec fic generally.

Tell us a little bit about yourself! How did you get interested in steampunk?

I’m one of the current municipal liaisons for Nanowrimo in Singapore and I try to make people see that people in Singapore do write fiction. Which means, I try to invade literary events or make our presence known online since locally, the only fiction we see published most is ghost stories, erotic ones or erotic ghost stories. That and sad woe is me literature. Which wouldn’t be bad (they can be well written) but that is all for the fiction published here.

On the subject of steampunk, I got interested in it conventions. There had always been lolitas dressed up at the cosplay conventions I go to but there wasn’t that much people in steampunk fashion. Looking at online pics and shops, I feel like you could make up a back story of a character dressed in what or what kind of situation they’d be in. And past the fashion, there’s always been anime like Full Metal Alchemist or books like Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate

What was your working definition of steampunk for this anthology? What steampunk works / media did you look towards to inform your own vision of steampunk for your anthology? 

Pretty much an alternate history of “what would happen if technology advanced way faster than they would in real life for that era” was my definition.

The House of Automata

| May 11, 2011

During my wanderings about the aethernet, I came across an clever article by the ever-useful IO9, which focused on a disturbing French harp player.  However, after digging a bit deeper, I became enthralled a its original source, a company named “The House of Automata”!  As described on its splash page…

“… it is the UK’s only specialist automata company, restoring, advising on, and making automata to commission.”

A smoking monkey?  Outstanding!

Though one who enjoys Steampunk has visions of giant cogs and gears running gigantic endeavors, it all has to start somewhere, and the House of Automata is certainly a fantastic place to start!  The do original work, as their leader stated, but perhaps more importantly, they restore many of the classic treasure which might have otherwise been lost.

A devilish fellow who can do card tricks!

Needless to say, I’m quite taken with the work and the automata, but as its is said, don’t take my word for it! Head on over to the House of Automata, and see the very clever and impressive classic automata house there (in both photos and plenty more videos)!  To do so, please turn to:

(To read the original IO0 article, and see the … unique French harp player, please turn to…!5799735/19th-century-mechanical-french-harp-player-is-absolutely-unnerving)