Artist Jake Von Slatt is considered to be one of the first modern Steampunk designersand has very cleverly adapted this style to computers. Gone are the plain, boring plastickeyboards of your modern desktop computer. Von Slatt has replaced them withgorgeous, antique nickel and glass keys, surrounded by hand crafted brass- reminiscentof the ‘old-time’ cash registers. The housings and flat screen monitors of a Von SlattSteampunk computer are made of wood, marble and ornate Victorian details- Perfectly appropriate for a 19 century, high-tech home or office. Richard Nagy, a.k.a.
‘Datamancer’, creates modded laptops that are technological Steampunk jewels. Imaginesitting in Starbucks and opening up one of Nagy’s slim, solid mahogany laptops-complete with studded leather hand rests, brass scroll work, elegant cast claw feet andsolid brass, antique keys! (My new HP would be green with envy). For addedauthenticity, Nagy provides a large antique brass key that is actually used to turn thelaptop on! With a few twists of the key (accompanied by the anticipated and satisfying clicking sound) Nagy’s laptop fires up to perform as well as the best, state-of-the-art,computers on the market These computer designs, as unique and beautiful as they are, beg the obvious question: Why would anyone want to design a computer or laptop to look like this in the firstplace? On his website, artist Richard Nagy provides a surprisingly serious and eloquentanswer. He explains that the computer, along with all modern digital devices, were truly robbed of their “novelty period
He states, “The home computer was denied what Ifeel to be the proudest time in the life of any technological device. It was robbed of thefleeting, wonderful period right after invention, where it is celebrated and honored by the finest craftsman, artists and creative minds and given a structure befitting itspotential and greatness
When the steam train roared into history, hissing smoke andhowling into the night, it was an awesome beast, adorned in the finest woods, ivory,gold, and intricate inlays, like some Serpent King on a sacred tapestry. The automobilesof the 20's to 60's, each was a work of art. The television and radio affected the world inmore ways that can be imagined, changing the entire dynamic of human social structureand communication. They were both appropriately gifted with the most lavish of handtooled, wooden scrolled cabinetry which borrowed artistic details from the grandestschools of architecture and design. Sadly, the personal computer, which has impactedthe world more profoundly than probably all of the previously mentioned inventions puttogether, never received the same kind treatment.” It is true, due to the modernmethods of mass production and the need to cheaply produce billions of units, moderndesign now suffers from an androgenous “digital silhouette”- whereby one cannot visually tell the difference between a cell phone or a remote or even a flat screen TV orcomputer.