Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009

Tech Know: Fast forward to the past

By Mark Ward
Technology correspondent, BBC News

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A Victorian DVD drive and a sonic 'thunderbus' to scare birds are among the inventions that Ellie Gibson encounters when she visits the steam punks

In Victorian times much chatter in drawing rooms and salons was directed towards defining the qualities of a gentleman.

Novelist and sportsman Robert Smith Surtees ended debate in 1858 when he wrote that they prove themselves by their actions rather than by simply declaring their membership of that distinguished breed.

Steampunks - contemporary Victorians - share the same elusive qualities.

"It's hard to define. It means different things to different people," said James Richardson-Brown, a steampunk who regularly sports a mechanical glove of his own design and construction.

Broadly, steampunk is about re-imagining the Victorian age and creating the appliances, clothes, weapons and lifestyles that might have come about if some present-day innovations had been invented way back when.

"It's about taking modern technology and presenting it in a way that the Victorians would have accepted," said Mr Richardson-Brown.

Source road

The telltale qualities of steampunk are also hard to list because its fans come to it via many different routes.

Mr Richardson-Brown's interest was piqued