Full Steam Ahead: The Greatest Steampunk-Inspired Appliances

feature story

Cor blimey, guv'nor! 'Av a look at these crackin' appliances!

For those who don't spend much time in the SF & Fantasy section at Barnes & Noble, steampunk is a sci-fi sub-genre that combines elements of cyberpunk with Victorian and wild west concepts, fashions, and technologies. Anachronistic by its very nature, steampunk envisions a society forever suspended at the dawn of the industrial revolution.

You're probably wondering: Just what the heck does this have to do with appliances? Well, we at Reviewed.com are always on the lookout for hot new trends, and there are few trends hotter in today's culture than steampunk. Smart tech? Stainless steel? Granite? Boring! Steampunk just might be the perfect antidote to the minimalistic—some would even say bland—design so common in contemporary kitchens.

So, without further ado, here are the best arguments we could find for steampunk's stylistic ascendancy:

Now you're cooking with steam

Smeg Oven.jpg
Brass is where it's at with the Smeg SF750RA. [Credit: Smeg UK] View Larger

Italian appliance manufacturer Smeg already has a bit of a reputation for "unusual" kitchen designs. Among all the denim, plaid, and jewel-encrusted gold fridges, this copper-and-brass wall oven looks downright restrained. Also, unlike the majority of items on the list, it's completely real and available for purchase right now in Old Blighty.

Just check out those finely wrought dials, that analog clock, and the "antique" copper finish. It might not fit in every kitchen, but it sure does make a statement. We're not entirely sure what that statement is, but we give Smeg credit for trying.

Now you're cooling with coal

steampunk fridge.jpg
A right posh spot to store your pukka nosh. [Credit: Apartment Therapy] View Larger

So you’ve got your steampunk oven, but what about the rest of the kitchen? Does your builder's package fridge look cheap as chips next to your new, retro-awesome oven? How mortifying! Obviously, the only way to avoid embarrassment that would make even the most resolute of Dickens characters swoon is to invest in a steampunk fridge.

Lucky for you, Massachusetts-based artists Bruce and Melanie Rosenbaum have you covered with this gorgeous and—considering the company in this list—restrained bespoke fridge. The Rosenbaums' entire house has been designed with a steampunk theme, and it's worth a quick gander if you have the time.

Now you're toasting with... steam?

So you’ve got your fridge for your nosh, but suppose you want to toast up a nice slice of bread? Well, you're going to need a toaster, guv. Ok, so we're cheating a bit with this one; it’s actually a digital mock-up by artist Joe Scherzi, but it’s gobsmacking nonetheless. We only have one concern: all that steam. A surefire way to ruin a pukka bit of toast is moisture. Nice try Joe, but we’re not convinced.

steampunk toaster.jpg
Any snack snob worth his butter knows that toast and moisture don't mix. [Credit: Joe Scherzi] View Larger

Now you're mixing with machinery

What do you get when you cross posh appliance manufacturer KitchenAid with seven Brazilian artists? (We're pretty sure that's a question literally no one has ever asked.) A steampunk stand mixer, of course!

This reinvention of the iconic kitchen gadget formed part of the touring art show Mixer, in which the aforementioned septet of artists put their own unique, uh... spin on the seminal appliance. Now, suppose you can't afford a custom-airbrushed mixer? Well, fortunately KitchenAid does offer its own steampunk-lite "satin copper" mixer.

steampunk mixer.jpg
Mix up some brass, copper, and a classic mixer and Bob's your uncle. [Credit: Pintrest] View Larger

Now you’re pulling with power

espresso machine.gif
The original steampunk appliance. [Credit: Elektra] View Larger

Any true English gentleman knows that the last bastion of civilization as we know it is a blooming good cup of tea. For us Yanks, however, coffee is where it’s at. If you're a right serious geezer about coffee, you might want to drop a few quid on an Elektra Belle Epoque espresso machine. Of all the steampunk-inspired appliances we've seen, this one makes the most sense. Steam is, after all, crucial in the espresso-brewing process.

This Elektra, with its ornate brass-and-copper exterior and precision-crafted mechanisms is the espresso enthusiast's dream. Just be aware that it’ll cost a pretty penny. (Seriously, we're talking thousands of dollars.)


But seriously, steampunk style doesn't have a snowball's chance in heck of showing up at your local Sears appliance aisle. Regardless, we're always happy to see someone break out of the stainless steel mold—no matter how silly.

[Hero image: Flickr user "lmbaker3"]