The renowned British engineer George Stephenson was born on this day in 1781. Few people may recognize the name today but during his lifetime he was called the “Father of Railways.” He was instrumental in the advancement of rail transportation, a key component of the Industrial Revolution. The standard rail gauge, with its 4-foot 8.5-inch […]
Happy Australia Day!
On this day in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip led a fleet of British ships carrying convicts into Botany Bay to form the penal colony of Australia. Australians still mark this date as a national holiday, which in the Southern Hemisphere is in the middle of summer. In the 18th Century, “transportation” to the colonies was […]
Prost für Graf Zeppelin*
* Cheers for Count Zeppelin This year marks the 110-year anniversary of aviation pioneer Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin founding his airship company Luftschiffbau Zeppelin. This came on the heels of the destruction of one of his early airship prototypes (LZ-4) in a storm when it was moored at Echterdingen. Despite this incident, the German public […]
Traveling in Steampunk Times: The Good Roads Movement
One of the most interesting things about writing in the steampunk genre is doing historical research. Real history is more than just boring names and dates and the doings of kings and presidents. It’s about the way that ordinary people lived and how their lives changed over time. My grandparents were born around the […]
The airship is one of the signature technologies of steampunk fiction. They did exist in the latter days of the Victorian Era or Gilded Age, (late 1890’s) but they were a novelty, and therefore “futuristic.” In those days, the only humans who had experienced flight were a handful of daring balloonists. Travel by air must […]