As reported in the 1st in a 2 part series at the end of July, Steampunks converged on the downtown Salt Lake City Red Lion Hotel for the Salt City Steamfest. It was tremendously successful for a first year and according to Salt City Steamfest’s news page, they are still working to get information finalized for 2013. The convention will be moving to a new location for next year that will be large enough to house all of our amazing attendees!”
The first convention of it’s kind to be held in Utah, was home to classes on topics from Steampunk literature and Victorian weaponry to leather tooling and how to fit a corset. There were vendors selling top hats, fascinators, jewelry, guns (primarily Nerf), dolls, lighting, books, and the insanely practical folding fan. And there was a sea of fabrics, friperies, cogs, clockworks, corsets, bustles, baubles, goggles, and gears. And with the Steampunks, there were even a few Steam Pups!”
As anyone familiar with the aesthetic can tell you, Steampunk is not strict Victorian. As anachronistic, alternative history, a Steampunk might have any crazy pet, so now, we will present exotic pets with a true Steampunk spirit! In honor of the inaugural Utah Steampunk convention, here is our pick for the “League of Extraordinary Steampets!”
Ferreting out adventure in a Steampunk world
Perhaps it is through their historical connection that ferrets, ermines, and other marvelous mustelids earn the first mention as a Steampunk pet. According to legend Queen Victoria or herself bred ferrets, and not just that, but treasured her albino ferrets (though actual historical proof is hard to come by). Ferrets were used to hunt rabbits and other small game. In terms of Steampunk, they look splendid in a pair of mechanical wings and little goggles of their own. Real ferrets have personalities that mesh well with the enterprising Neo-Victorian. They are intelligent, funny, scrappy little problem solvers. A bit like an air pirate, they are thoroughly likable, but sometimes find themselves outside the law, as is the case in California where a horribly unfair law continues to ban ferrets from the sunshine state.
For those with a taste for the bizarre (and sometimes bald)
If you were a Steampunk mad scientist (as many a Steampunk is), you might choose a lovely clockwork beetle or a robotic dog (even if it does look a bit disco). An axolotl, especially an albino one, is just bizarre enough to seem like something created in a lab, but is a real live exotic animal native to Mexico. Axolotl are amphibians, but don’t undergo undergo a complete metamorphosis, so the adults remain aquatic, gilled, and adorably weird. But for the mad scientist who’d rather have a warm blooded buddy, during a discussion on Steampunk pets on the famed BrassGoggles forum user Indefinitive posted “I definitely agree with the comment about the weirder the better. I think a skinny pig would be great. Nothing says ‘I’m a mad scientist’ or ‘slightly eccentric’ like a hairless rodent.”
“Skinny pig” is just the fun nickname for hairless Guinea pigs. Sometimes these weird looking bald cavies look like tiny (also real, just not AS tiny) pygmy hippos (and are labeled as such on Pinterest and Tumblr) which may just lead to rumors you have finally perfected your shrinking ray.
You steamy rat!
Rats aren’t just for wizards-in-training, they easily earn a place in the League of Extraordinary Steampets! Like ferrets, rats really were pets in the Victorian era. It was in the 1800’s that the first “Fancy Rats” were bred as pets for temperament and colors. But also, rats may just be the ultimate Steampet. Highly trainable, portable (so you never have to leave your furry friend behind to board a dirigible. Just have roomy pockets!), cute, funny, and just like Steampunks themselves often misunderstood (but truthfully very cool!).
For the mad scientist (or the allergy sufferer) you can once again go with the hairless variety. For the fine Victorian lady, a soft fine coat of a white and brown hooded rats make dainty companions. For a chimney sweep, a dusty brown or black furred pal can ride along under your top hat! Rats are awesome.
So, if you are a Steampunk, join the conversation! What pets do you have? What pets would you have if you could? And are you planning to come to next year’s Salt City Steamfest?