This Old House of Steampunk

There is no denying that the steampunk movement is one the rise, at least to judge from the attendees at Comicpalooza last weekend. We for one have absolutely no problem with the sub-cultures increased popularity at all. In fact, we recently chronicled the excellent work of Peter Balch and his handmade steampunk computer mice, complete with brain in a jar.

That was cool all right, but all it did was get us wishing that someone out there made steampunk computer stations to go with Balch's mouse. And wouldn't it be even sweeter if someone out there could make an entire steampunk house for u... oh, there is? Hey, thanks Internet!

Meet Bruce Rosenbaum of Modern Victorian, the man who has taken steampunk to a level so far beyond gluing gears on a top hat that we're not even really sure where to begin. However, we'll give it a shot. Once upon a time, Rosenbaum and his wife had a roof that leaked. Long story short, he got into home restoration in a big way. He eventually went to contractor's school and started a side business of restoring 100-plus-year-old homes.

Being in love with the elegance and beauty of the Victorian style, Rosenbaum nonetheless is a man who enjoys modern technologies and comforts. So, bit by bit, he's been combining those aspects of home life together. For instance, he acquired an antique cast iron stove, but had the top fitted for modern electric burners and other amenities you'd find in a regular stove.

"I wanted to combine the beauty of the Victorian era with the functionality of the modern," Rosenbaum says.

It didn't take many projects of that kind before acquaintances told Rosenbaum that what he was doing was steampunk, and that launched him into a career as a driving force in the sub-culture. He has shown his high-quality authentic antique pieces with modern adaptations at conventions and museums, and was even instrumental in turning an entire Massachusetts town into a recreation of Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for more than 10,000 delighted visitors.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner