Posted by Steampunk Magazine 9th February 2011
It’s that time of year again! Valentine’s Day is barreling towards us all like a pink, chocolate, wildly out of control locomotive that’s jumped it’s tracks. As we quake in fear at what a modern fourteenth of February might bring (did I mention pink already?), let us take it upon ourselves to bring a bit of steam into the holiday.
The Victorians were, after all, the true inventors of the Valentine’s Day card. The custom reached it’s zenith in the 1870s and 80s sometime after British postal rates were standardized. Often unabashedly flowery and sentimental, Victorian valentines were also pieces of artwork, and took quite a lot of effort and skill to conceive. Golden Age Valentine techniques and how-to links from puzzle purses to love knots are lovingly outlined here at: http://home.kendra.com/victorianrituals/Victor/val.htm
A quick Google shopping search reveals that many fine craftsmen have already come up with some novel creations, such as this unique collage by SenecaPondCrafts on Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/listing/65219762/steampunk-valentine-whimsical-junque?ref=v1_other_1. I also discovered some replicas for sale of the moving, “mechanical” type cards so popular in the late nineteenth century. To really get an idea of how these cards worked, you might also want to check out this demonstration.
Lastly, I think it is quite necessary to share this comical short film, circa the year 1900:
Have a happy, ooey-gooey, Valentines Day!