Friday: Steampunk World: Water Sports and Air Conditioning

Today I decided to save you from the rather dangerous hobby of googling “Victorian Water Sports.”
Although you probably did it just now anyway.

Victorian Water Sports should be part of everyone’s vernacular. If only for the interesting dinner conversation.
After a little brain-damaging research, I got to the heart of Victorian-era summer fun. Apparently even women went canoeing, although it was for “leisure” and not to build up muscle and competition like the guys. This image from the Illustrated London News emphasizes the beautiful–and heavy–costumes they’d doll up in to go out and cool off.

Credit to Julie's Antique Prints

I was honestly surprised by how many women are in boats in this picture, and I wonder if the women on shore are longing for the relative freedom of a jam-packed river rowing trip.

I’ve also discovered the origin of sunbathing. No wonder women lingered around, soaking up the sun. What else could you do if you went to the beach looking like this?

I imagine the sheer energy involved in walking to the beach in twelve layers of flannel would require frequent cat naps in the sun.

On a cooler note, some amazing genius has reinvented a steam engine powered fan. I can’t find the credit for the original inventor, so if anyone knows…
Apparently air conditioning itself is very Steampunk, as the first electrical air conditioner was invented in 1902. Who’d’ve thought? I think it’s easy for us all the believe people were still using candles, cooking over campfires and using outhouses until the 1950s. Maybe it’s just me…

For those of you looking for something fun to do while blistering under our yellow star’s affections, check out the Colorado Renaissance Festival in all your Steampunk glory. They love it when you “time travel.” Don’t worry, the Storm Troopers do it too.
Next weekend there’s a new Steampunk convention in town–well, sortof. Of all places for a fan convention to crop up, Chapel Hill, NC has Contemporal June 21-24. They’re bringing in Studio Foglio, too, so they must be hoping for a big head count. Also starting next weekend, Steampunkinetics, a really cool Steampunk-inspired art gala in New York. It’s on display until September 2.

So what are you up to this week? I don’t know about the rest of the world, but I’m going to put on my goggles and show my Steampunk Pride with a little color this weekend!

Credit to Quinn Anya


One thought on “Friday: Steampunk World: Water Sports and Air Conditioning

  1. I enjoyed your article. You may like to see this album of late victorian sports adventures posted by my alter ego:

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