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Steampunk: A Brief History and How It’s Still Evolving.

Steampunk: A Brief History and How It’s Still Evolving.

Steampunk has been around since the 1980s when K.W. Jeter first coined it. It was later popularised in the 1990s with films like Wild Wild West and The Thirteenth Floor. Today, Steampunk is a subculture that encompasses various media and art. It’s also become an active social movement as people come together to share their love for all things steampunk.

In this article, we’ll cover how Steampunk has evolved over the years and what the future may hold for this subculture.


What Is Steampunk?

Steampunk, as a subculture, has been around for decades, it is defined by its love of Victorian-era aesthetics and anachronistic technology. In the late 1800s, British writer H.G. Wells predicted a future where machines ran on power from coal and steam. That idea later merged with a Victorian-era aesthetic to form the basis of Steampunk as we know it today.

K.W. Jeter first coined the term ‘Steampunk’ in his 1986 novel The Glass Hammer as “a genre of science fiction set in the 19th century or early 20th century; usually, one where steam power is still widely used—usually the era from 1880 to 1910.” It evolved into a subculture that includes literature, music, fashion and design as well as other forms of media and art like film and video games.

The Evolution of Steampunk

Steampunk has gone through many stages over the years. It’s progressed from being a term in literature to a cultural movement.

In the Victorian era, authors like Jules Verne imagined what the future would look like. As the 20th century approached, writers revisited this idea for their work with books like H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and Jules Verne’s The Mysterious Island. These works had a heavy influence on how people thought about science fiction and technology at that time, leading to steampunk-like creations in their stories.

It wasn’t until 1984, when K.W. Jeter coined the term “steampunk” in his novel The Glass Hammer, that it became associated with a true art style, music, fashion, and design. So, where did he get his inspiration?

Jeter got his inspiration from pulp fiction novels and films from the 1930s and 1940s. Such as those by Dashiell Hammett or those created by Fritz Lang such as Metropolis (1927) and Woman in the Moon (1929). This influence is evident all around us today as we see more and more people wearing vintage style clothes.


What Does the Future Hold for Steampunk?

As with any trend, Steampunk has spread in popularity over the years. For example, there are now more than one million people who identify as Steampunks on Facebook. This is an impressive number considering that only thirteen thousand people identified with this subculture just a short while ago.

However, the future of Steampunk is uncertain. As with most trends, likely, its popularity will eventually fade out. For instance, the recent surge in popularity of TV series like Stranger Things has caused some people to abandon or alter their current style preferences to reflect these new influences.

However, this is for sure—Steampunk isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Even if its popularity does wane at some point in time, it has inspired a culture of creativity and imagination that will never be lost.



Steampunk has come a long way from its roots as a mere subculture. From the 1980s and 1990s to the present day, it has evolved into something more than just a fashion trend. It has become a way of life for many enthusiasts worldwide.

Steampunk is an exciting and ever-changing movement, and it’s impossible to predict what will come next. But we can say with certainty that steampunk will continue to grow and evolve as the years go on.

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