Archive for the ‘Weapons’ Category

Steam at Harper’s Ferry catch phrases, “Steam’s Got Tech” and “Technology in Art” since 2011, are not just slogans. They represent goals that the gallery takes seriously. The steampunk genre encapsulates so many aspects of art and design, engineering and science that a steampunk gallery in Harper’s Ferry was perfect! Not only is it a Victorian town, but it has a steam-powered history. From the steam gun to power plants.

On August 15 at the Bolivar-Harpers Ferry Public Library, Steam at Harper’s Ferry introduced a new postcard series celebrating Jefferson County inventors. Only one lived her entire life in Jefferson County – Estelle May Peach Koonce Black. The other two, Royal Emerson Whitman and John Harris Hall were born elsewhere, but made their own history Jefferson County. All three held patents!

John Harris Hall Steam's Got Tech Royal Emerson Whitman Steam's Got Tech Estelle Black Steam's Got Tech

Steam at Harper’s Ferry also supports the S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M. movement (I knew there as a reason why I love Scientific American). While science, technology, engineering and math are important education subjects, the arts are just as important. Integrating the arts in to S.T.E.M. is critical to economic and cultural growth.

To learn more about S.T.E.M. to S.T.E.A.M., click here.

The postcards are available for purchase at $1.25 each plus shipping. Please contact Steam at Harper’s Ferry directly if you would like to purchase them online. Thank you.






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In addition to the great covers, all of these comic books

1.  Feature women with guns

2.  Have full color illustration throughout

3.  Have compelling story lines

4.  Are about the “Wild West”

5.  Have a steampunk feel

And they are all available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry!

Get your Oz on with the Legend!

Maybe there will be a Lady Mechanika movie!

I love the colors scheme in this comic book!

Steam at Harper’s Ferry has Lady Mechanika Nos. 0-3; The Legend of Oz, Wicked West No. 1; and Next Town Over Nos. 1 & 2, available for purchase in very limited quantities.

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Pumpkin Carving Contest

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with local merchants, invites the public to participate in the Community Jack-O’-Lantern Contest held from October 26-27, 2012 at the ATC Visitor Center, located at 799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV. This event is free and open to the public.
Local community members are encouraged to carve a pumpkin at home and bring it to the ATC Visitor Center on Friday, October 26, 2012 from 9:00a.m. – 7:00p.m. or on Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m. All entries must be submitted by noon the day of the event and have the participant’s name and phone number written on the bottom of the pumpkin in order to be included in the contest.

Jack-o’-lanterns will be judged in the following age groups: 12 and under and 13 and up. Children 12 and under can choose to paint an image on their pumpkin, if preferred.

On Saturday, from 12:30p.m. – 4:00p.m., the public can vote for their top three favorite jack-o’-lanterns from each age group. Light refreshments will also be available. Winning submissions will be announced at 4:30p.m. Prizes will be awarded to first, second, and third place from each age group. Contestants do not need to be present to accept their prize.

Jack-o-lantern entries will be on display later that evening in downtown Harpers Ferry from 6:00p.m. – 7:00p.m. on High Street. Light refreshments will also be available.

“The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is excited to be a part of this event, as it’s a great opportunity for the local community members to come together and showcase their skills and talents,” said Javier Folgar, marketing and communications manager for the ATC. “The event is going to be lots of fun and an excellent way to introduce people to the Appalachian Trail, as well as to the local merchants in downtown Harpers Ferry.”


Title:   Community Jack-O’-Lantern Contest
Date: October 26-27, 2012
Location: ATC Visitor Center, 799 Washington Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
October 26 (9:00a.m. – 7:00p.m.)
October 27 (9:00a.m. – 12:00p.m.)
Voting Period:
October 27 (12:30p.m. – 4:00p.m.)
Winners Announced:
October 27 (4:30p.m. – 5:00p.m.)
Jack-O’-Lantern Display
Date: October 27, 2012
Time: 6:00p.m. – 7:00p.m.
Location: High Street, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425

This event is sponsored by the ATC, the Vintage Lady, Westwind Potters, the Village Shop at Harpers Ferry, Tenfold Fair Trade Collection and Ridgefield Farm and Orchard.

John Butler and the War of 1812

Title:  John Butler and the War of 1812
Date:   10/27/2012

Learn about African Americans in the War of 1812, specifically Harpers Ferry resident and free African American, John Butler, who served as a gunner on the US frigate United States in the naval victory against HMS Macedonian on Oct. 30, 1812. Includes recruiting for War of 1812 living history soldiers and civilians at Williamson’s Tavern and historic flintlock firing demonstration.

Location: Lower Town | Map Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM Fee Information: $10.00 per vehicle for 3 days or $5.00 per person on foot or bicycle Contact Name: Information Center Contact Email: e-mail us Contact Phone Number: 304-535-6029

Defeat & Victory: The 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry

Title:  Defeat & Victory: The 1862 Battle of Harpers Ferry
Date:  10/27/12

Discover how the record-setting surrender of over 12,700 Union soldiers led to freedom for 4 million people.

Location: Meet at Cavalier Heights Visitor Center Time: 2:00 PM to 2:45 PM Fee Information: $10.00 per vehicle for 3 days or $5.00 per person on foot or bicycle Contact Phone Number: 304-535-6298

Harpers Ferry from the Top, Down

Title:  Harpers Ferry from the Top, Down
Date:  10/28/12

A one mile walk from Camp Hill to Lower Town Harpers Ferry. From the inside of old mansions to the Appalachian Trail, this program offers tremendous views and hidden history.

Location: Meet at Cavalier Heights Visitor Center Time: 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM Fee Information: $10.00 per vehicle for 3 days or $5.00 per person on foot or bicycle Contact Phone Number: 304-535-6298

19th Century Dance and Music Traditions – Workshop

This workshop will teach and explore how 19th century music and dance traditions gave birth to American popular culture, through the exchange of African American and European American instruments and steps.

Title: “FLATFOOT, FIDDLE, & BANJO WEEKEND: 19th Century Traditions for 21st Century Dancers and Musicians”

Date: November 10th & 11th
Time: 9am to 6pm

Location: participants will be notified of the location upon registration

Instructors: Matthew Olwell, Emily Oleson, and April Masten

Description: This workshop will teach and explore how 19th century music and dance traditions gave birth to American popular culture, through the exchange of African American and European American instruments and steps.

Workshop fee: $75.00 for registered participants

Class size: Limit of 30 participants

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Steam will have a very exciting exhibit starting this weekend. The art installation is half-way done and fortunately, it is still pretty comfortable inside the gallery.

There are four artists being featured: Leigh Anne Cassell, Scott Little, Christopher Loggie and Sue Parker. Jason Edwards’ illustration work will also be on display. Here is brief introduction to them in their own words.

Leigh Anne Cassell

“As an artist, one of my personal goals with my work is to strengthen my talent with drawing portraits, especially with the use of color, while also trying more stylized approaches. Since I started drawing portraits in high school I have come to greatly love the technicality of capturing the realism of people’s faces with a pencil. Recently I have expanded my medium to inks and colored pencils. It took me so long to try using color because I did not think that I had the skills to draw with it. One day I just decided to try it, and I ended up surprising myself. Even though I think I still need lots of practice with it, I am happy that I am working well enough with color at the moment. I have been asked in the past why I do not try more digital media to create drawings. I have never had interest in trying a tablet or any other form of digital process to draw. I am in no way against these technological advancements or works of art created by them; I just personally like to sit down with my drawing board, paper, pens, and pencils and just draw. I like the sound and feel of pencils as they move over paper. I can easily say that I do not fit in very well with the more “modern” art world, but I am perfectly fine with that.

[Copyright Leigh Anne Cassell. Displayed with permission.]

Lately I also decided to venture into drawing portraits of people in steampunk attire or fashions that reflect bygone eras. Steampunk is another passion of mine, and I highly enjoy dressing up and going to events. Since both drawing and this amazing subculture make me incredibly happy, I figured: why not combine the two? Since I do not draw much still-life I find that I can capture aspects of it in the accessories people wear, and it gives me more practice with different surface types. The kind of material used for the subject’s clothing can also be a positive challenge with texture types.

Ultimately, drawing portraits is something of which I will never tire.”

Scott Little

“My work is a venture in manipulation, with respect to light, color and space, creating a reversal of color with respect to their negative complements as well as a reversal of dark and light.  I combine diverse media and techniques to develop greater layers for expression, thereby establishing a deeper, holistic significance.”

[Copyright Scott Little. Displayed with permission.]

Christopher Loggie

“Raised in Australia, came over on walkabout, met the love of my life, landed in Maryland. An avid Steampunk enthusiast for the last few years. I have created props for one movie, Steampunk Stacie. I have turned 20 years of crafting and artwork experience towards this exciting new direction. I hope you like my work.”

[No photo will do Mr. Loggie’s work justice – you have to come see it!]

Sue Parker

“After painting seriously, but briefly, during college, I returned to art  in 1998.  It is now my primary activity, apart from the demands of daily living.

I studied watercolor for 4 years with Irene Sylvester, artist-in-residence at Montpelier Arts Center (Laurel, Maryland), and have also received instruction from Frank Webb (AWS),  Lynn Ferris (NWS), Kent Roberts, Marie McCafferty as well as  David Buckley Good and Fritz Briggs of the Schuler School of Fine Art (Baltimore), and Michael Davis.

I work in watercolor, oil and pastel, using the medium that best suits the subject.

[Copyright Sue Parker. Displayed with permission.]

As an artist, my goal is to focus attention, if only briefly, on the beauty in the things around us that often escape our notice as we rush about our daily lives.

I exhibit at Hagerstown, MD’s Valley Art Association Mansion House, and the Washington Street Artists’ Coop in Charles Town WV, and have shown at the Ice House and Art in the Park in Berkeley Springs (WV), the Washington County Arts Council, Seneca Rocks Discovery Center. and the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.”

Jason Edwards – Resident Artist

Jason’s work has been on display previously at Steam at Harper’s Ferry. This time around, he did the illustration for Steam’s Gadgets, Guns and Gears promotional flyer. He will have three illustrations on display.


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When I wrote about the Winans Steam Gun back in October 2011, I had no idea how popular the post would be, and I certainly had no idea that there was a new book about the subject by John Lamb! I will post more in the coming weeks, but I wanted to let you know about this event well in advance.

Steam at Harper’s Ferry will be hosting a book signing and historical presentation on the legendary Winans Steam Gun from the Civil War, 2-4 p.m., Sunday, May 6, with John Lamb, author of A Strange Engine of War: The “Winans” Steam Gun and Maryland in the Civil War.

Hope to see you there! If you can’t make the event, get your hands on the book.

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The New York Ledger 1892 Christmas number’s exterior wrapper depicts a contemporary mother and child encircled by a wreath from which cherubs peep.  The illustration is by Warren B. Davis and Stafford Northcote. On the backside of the wrapper are various quarter page advertisements. One quarter is dedicated to Ayer’s Products (Ayer’s Sarsaparilla and Ayer’s Cherry Pectoral), Chocolat Menier beverage (link in French), Waterbury watches of Connecticut and the Crown Perfumery Co.’s Crab Apple Blossoms perfume.

Which of these companies exist today?

Ayer’s products are no longer in production. The Menier chocolate business was bought by Nestle in 1988.  (Watch Anticosti au temps des Menier, a short film depicting the island of Anticosti at the outlet of the St. Lawrence River in Canada which was purchased by Henri Menier for $125,000.)

Crown Perfumery was ultimately purchased by Clive Christian Perfumery company. Apparently the Crab Apple Blossoms fragrance as well as the other famous Crown Perfumery perfumes are no longer being produced.

The Waterbury watch stopped being made in 1898, however, it was reorganized as the New England Watch company, which was in turn bought by Robert Ingersoll who started producing Ingersoll Waterbury watches. The Ingersoll-Waterbury business manufactured “Mickey Mouse” character electric clocks.  You can download a personal use desktop watch here. Norwegian investors bought the company in 1942 and renamed the U.S. Time Corporation which introduced the Timex watch after World War II.

So, believe it or not, the only business advertised in this 1892 edition that remains to this day operating in the same business line as it did in 1892 is the Waterbury company of the United States, today in its current form as Timex.

The relationship to Harper’s Ferry?

In 1897, Mark Twain wrote the travel book “Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World.” In Chapter IV, he talks about his frustrating experience with the ship’s clock and the reliable Waterbury watch which he had received as a prize.

“In a minor tournament I won the prize, which was a Waterbury watch. I put it in my trunk. In Pretoria, South Africa, nine months afterward, my proper watch broke down and I took the Waterbury out, wound it, set it by the great clock on the Parliament House (8.05), then went back to my room and went to bed, tired from a long railway journey. The parliamentary clock had a peculiarity which I was not aware of at the time-a peculiarity which exists in no other clock, and would not exist in that one if it had been made by a sane person; on the half-hour it strikes the succeeding hour, then strikes the hour again, at the proper time. I lay reading and smoking awhile; then, when I could hold my eyes open no longer and was about to put out the light, the great clock began to boom, and I counted ten. I reached for the Waterbury to see how it was getting along. It was marking 9.30. It seemed rather poor speed for a three dollar watch, but I supposed that the climate was affecting it. I shoved it half an hour ahead; and took to my book and waited to see what would happen. At 10 the great clock struck ten again. I looked – the Waterbury was marking half-past 10. This was too much speed for the money, and it troubled me. I pushed the hands back a half hour, and waited once more; I had to, for I was vexed and restless now, and my sleepiness was gone. By and by the great clock struck 11. The Waterbury was marking 10.30. I pushed it ahead half an hour, with some show of temper. By and by the great clock struck 11 again. The Waterbury showed up 11.30, now, and I beat her brains out against the bedstead. I was sorry next day, when I found out.” See http://www.classicbookshelf.com.

Jules Verne wrote the book “Le Tour de Monde en Quatre-Vingt Jours” or “Around the World in Eighty Days” in 1873. Coincidence?

Mark Twain’s book “Pudd’nhead Wilson” was adapted for television and filmed in Harper’s Ferry in 1984. Mark Twain’s lecture manager was James Redpath who met and wrote about John Brown and was one of the few who remained loyal to Brown after his raid on Harper’s Ferry. Legend has it that Mark Twain stayed at Hill Top House in Harper’s Ferry.

Unfortunately, Jules Verne did not stay at Hill Top House, nor did he visit Harper’s Ferry, but he did refer to Edgar Allen Poe and Baltimore in the book “From the Earth to the Moon” which was about the fictional Gun Club established after the War of the Rebellion. Jules Verne wrote:

“Now when an American has an idea, he directly seeks a second American to share it. If there be three, they elect a president and two secretaries. Given four, they name a keeper of records, and the office is ready for work; five, they convene a general meeting, and the club is fully constituted. So things were managed in Baltimore. The inventor of a new cannon associated himself with the caster and the borer. Thus was formed the nucleus of the ‘Gun Club.’ In a single month after its formation it numbered 1,833 effective members and 30,565 corresponding members.”

How’s that for social networking?

This Christmas Number of the New York Ledger is available for purchase at Steam at Harper’s Ferry along with Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens bookmarks and Jules Verne novels .

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An extras casting assistant sent me an email with additional casting information. Based on the email, it looks like they need people ASAP for these roles.

“I am forwarding this information to you for the roles that need
to be filled for the upcoming filming that will be held in the Harper’sFerry
area.  They can reply to the below address if they are interested in being part of the production.

Individuals can reply with images to periodextras@gmail.com.”

Young Teddy Roosevelet age 24-26  5’9ish preferably with period wardrobe
(holster, has to ride horse)
Emma Goldman
Morgan’s Mother dark hair 30 nice looking
Ida Tarbell
Leon Csolgosz

Period prostitutes – bar ladies

The character links are mine – don’t blame the production crew!

Good luck!

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Ghost Monkeys!

Check out the League of Steam’s latest installment on YouTube.


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Little did I know that a steam gun captured on its way to Harper’s Ferry not only existed, but was the subject of a Mythbuster’s episode!

The steam gun’s inventor was Charles S. Dickinson of Cleveland, Ohio.  A patent was awarded to him for an “Improvement in Centrifugal Guns” where the gun barrel moves “by means of steam  or other power”.

Here is the drawing:

Dickinson Patent Centrifugal Gun

Here’s how it appears in Harper’s Weekly, May 25, 1861-

Winans Steam Gun

It was the subject of much controversy as it was ultimately built by Ross Winans of Baltimore, Md, a wealthy inventor and designer for the B&O railroad, who had the gun shipped from Baltimore to Harper’s Ferry in May 1861 in order to further his secessionist goals.  It was intercepted by a command under Brigadier General Benjamin F. Butler.  Butler captured Winans in Baltimore and Winans would have been hung for treason were it not for the intercession of Secretary of State Seward.

Here are a series of Civil War era contemporary articles for you. Interesting stuff!

Thanks for reading!

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