Posts Tagged ‘Steam’

This is going to be a pretty exciting weekend coming up.  Starting on October 14, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is sponsoring the 2011 National Trademark Expo. Steampunk inventors, makers and all other creatives should know something about trademarks – and here’s your chance!

Steampunk and steampunk-related conventions going on this weekend: Steamcon III in Seattle (actually Bellevue) starting on October 14 and the New York ComicCon starting on October 13.

Closer to home, on October 14, the Washington Street Artists’ Cooperative is having a reception as part of the Charles Town Races Breeders Cup Weekend.  The featured artist is Loretta Dovell Bailey, the official painter of the West Virginia Breeders Classics.

The West Virginia Breeders Classics races are held every year at at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races 5 miles from Harper’s Ferry. It will be held this year on October 15.  Good times!

Next, the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park is having activities all weekend as part of the 150 Commemorative of the Civil War.  This weekend the topic is In the Shadows of John Brown: The 1861 Battle of Bolivar Heights.  This is a two-day event starting at 10 am both days.

So what is going on at Steam at Harper’s Ferry? In addition to the continuing exhibition of the works of Angelica Temoche and Jason Edwards, we have Taryn Staples’ steampunk-themed switchplate collection. We also just received Wilbur brand  “train pops” specially be-ribboned with Steam at Harper’s Ferry colors of burgundy and blue!

Steam has original New York Herald newspapers for the dates November 2, 1859, November 4, 1859 and October 24, 1861. In the October 24 edition, on page 7, it says:

“It has been reserved for the rump of the abolitionists – a faction utterly dead to all principle and sense of patriotism – to import from the low political factions of Europe a weapon of offence entirely repugnant to American practices and notions. … It is, however, it must be admitted, a legitimate auxiliary of the ferocious and unscrupulous attacks upon the government by which such journals as the Tribune and the Times endeavor to drive the President into making this war a war of abolition, and thus forever destroy all hopes of a reconstruction of the Union.”

Wow.  Also in the October 24 edition, is coverage of activities on Bolivar Heights.

When you come to Steam, please ask about the painting of Royal Emerson Whitman’s residence, known locally as the “Scottish Castle”.  Colonel Whitman built his home on Bolivar Heights and Whitman Avenue is named after him.

Thank you for reading!

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Copper Enamel Switchplates

What makes these switchplates unique? Enamel fused copper.

“I use enamel powder-fused copper switchplates to create custom housewares. My enameling process renders a glassy, smooth and variably translucent or opaque appearance to each piece. Some designs focus on the positive and negative effects created from a penciling technique, emphasizing a clock or gear motif. Others have real watch gears, screws, or trinkets applied to Victorian color palettes and lace patterns. These abstract Steampunk designs will enhance a room or stand out as a focal point on a simple wall color.”

A limited switchplate series is available at Steam at Harper’s Ferry, 180 High Street, 1-B, Harper’s Ferry, WV 25425.

Taryn Staples
TJC3 Collection

Taryn Staples earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2001. She studied fused glass and copper enamel at the Guy Mason Art Studio in Georgetown while working in DC as an Equity Stage Manager at several local theaters. She applied these new skills to create art glass, a jewelry line, and a custom housewares collection.

Custom orders and plates for toggle style switches may be ordered directly from the artist.

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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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Railroad! Serialized Steampunk Adventure.

TOR.COM Steampunk 101

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That was the question for the evening at our pre-opening reception. Did I do a good job explaining? Probably not, but I handed out some literature in the form of the newspaper from the Steampunk World’s Fair held on May 20-22, 2011 and did my best elevator pitch.  The more I learn, the harder it is to explain.  From now on, I’ll have to say that it is an experience and leave it at that. No. My pitch has to improve.

It had been a frustrating week trying to get everything together. But, in the end, it was great to have a chance to meet and talk to people in advance of the “official” opening. Both featured artists were there – Angelica Temoche and Jason Edwards which was wonderful.

Our opening is October 1, during the weekend of Brunswick, Maryland’s 28th Annual Railroad Days!  There will be an excursion train running between Brunswick and Harper’s Ferry on both days.  I understand that tickets will be available in Harper’s Ferry at the Tenfold Fair Trade shop as well as in Brunswick.

I visited the Brunswick Railroad Museum a few months ago and was pleasantly surprised with it. The best part was the model railroad. A Harper’s Ferry addition is in progress.

It’s a good time. I recommend the event highly.  After you visit Harper’s Ferry, of course.

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I’m a big technology supporter – but when it fails … Can’t tell you the frustration when not only wireless, but landline services are unavailable. Especially two days before a reception and a week before opening. I’m thinking I’ll laugh about it one day. But today, not so much.  

Lots going on in the Eastern Panhandle this weekend – but the big event is the Mountain Heritage Festival. Decidedly low tech, which is what I’m aiming for right now. Kettlecorn, bluegrass, buckwheat and wrought iron. Yep.

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I am not the first to say that a place found me, rather than the other way around.  The first time I visited Harper’s Ferry was in the middle of winter.  February, I think.  There was snow on the ground and I walked the winding path to Jefferson Rock and saw the famous view. Little did I know that this short day trip from Washington, DC would turn into an annual

View from Jefferson Rock

View from Jefferson Rock from Picturesque America 1893

trek, which would turn into a business called Steam at Harper’s Ferry.

What I hope to do with this blog is post a little history, fiction, rumors and tales about Harper’s Ferry and the region.  I want to write about tangible things which get lost in the virtual world.  More than a Civil War experience, this little town has a history of industry, creativity, education and innovation.  Like most small towns.

I hope this blog will inspire you to visit Harper’s Ferry, or maybe even invent something, write a story or two, or investigate the history of your own small towns.

Something wonderful is out there waiting to find you.

Thank you for reading!

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