Steampunk Summer Moment

My friends are used to my regular museum habit, but other people ask, “Again?” with a strange look of anguished confusion. Are they concerned about my brand of escapism or do they think they are missing out? (I don’t play games on my phone and I’ve never even tried golf, so I know I’m weird.)

I don’t know. Maybe there’s just a missing piece to the conversation about my art adventures? It’s true that I often recharge by revisiting familiar art collections in NYC, but I also indulge in ‘art wandering’— visiting exhibits and museums that fall outside any of my usual areas of interest. This wander factor took me into a “special exhibits” section of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. If I’d been asked as I entered the galleries featuring works from the museums vast collection of Marine Models, I would have said that I was just ‘whizzing through the toy boats’ on my way to other things.

The detailed models of the Dutch sailing vessels were beautiful, but it was the stunning, copper, STEAMPUNK submarine that stopped me in my tracks. It screamed out to me that it was ready for Captain Nemo!

The Duikboot model was based on the innovative design for a submarine by Antoine Lipkens and built of copper, brass, iron, lead glass and rope by Olke Uhlembeck in 1835/40. It would be another 70 or years before the Dutch navy had a real submarine and I doubt it was a beautiful as the wild model.

Once inspired by the craft that could double as a character in a science fiction story about a sentient spaceship, I began to examine the scale models of steampunk-ish components: mini screw propellers for lifting gears, tubular boilers (tubulaire stoomketel) for steam powered travel and turntables for aiming cannons.

A steampunk summer moment!




  1. Wow…I’ve never really been into steampunk, but that model of a steampowered submarine must have been incredible. My mind immediately flipped to the problem of where [and how] you’d put a chimney underwater. Maybe like a snorkel? Or perhaps it could double as the periscope? Lovely, just lovely!

    • Candy Korman

      Details, details, details! The submarine model may have been build with a serious intention, but to me it was a piece of fantasy art, something as crazy as the machines in a Jules Verne novel. I LOVED it! Now, I’m keeping my eyes open for other steampunk-y opportunities.

  2. It looks fantastic. I wonder if it could ever work and have people walking on it’s promenade type deck ( on the surface of course).
    The Victorians certainly weren’t lacking in imagination were they?
    xxx Hugs Galore xxx

    • Candy Korman

      Imaginative and hopeful about the future… We are more distopian, seeing the problems in out technology just as we embrace i, while they celebrated their transformation and all that was mechanical. No, I’m not discounting the many people who rejected the march of mechanical developments, but the overall mood was “here’s the big adventure” let’s invent something!