The Steampunk movement started in the 1970’s as a sub-genre of science fiction.  Its basic inspiration is believed to have come from great literary geniuses of the 19th century such as Jules Verne (author of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and H.G. Wells (author of The Time Machine).  The actual term “Steampunk” was coined to describe the technological movement of the Victorian Era and truly took root at the same time of the “scientific romance” era from that same Victorian Era that later evolved into Science Fiction.

Steampunk became mainstream in the 1980’s almost by accident.  It was a tongue-in-cheek reference by the author K.W.Jeter in a letter to science fiction magazine Locus…. in an excerpt, he said:

“Personally, I think Victorian fantasies are going to be the next big thing, as long as we can come up with a fitting collective term for Powers, Blaylock and myself. Something based on the appropriate technology of the era; like “steam-punks,” perhaps….

— K.W. Jeter

As you look now at the modern versions of Steampunk it can be defined as a special place where science fiction and fantasy combine in an enigmatic flow technology and aesthetic designs.  Most of which are inspired by 19th-century steam powered machinery (mostly because this concept originated back at a time when steam engines were “cutting edge” and led to fantasy).  The point where modern technologies walk hand-in-hand with Victorian culture.

The entertainment industry has made it to the mainstream with the following movies (created in the steampunk style) at the forefront:

  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
  • Wild Wild West.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
  • The Time Machine.
  • The Golden Compass.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.
  • Harry Potter


At the center of this movement is the style and fashion that goes along with it.  The classic Steampunk outfit includes classic Victorian clothes, including things like a vest, corset, top hat, overcoat, or dress. Then, accessorize your outfit other things like leather straps, belts, buckles, gloves, and goggles to make it steampunk. It takes a lot to make this look…or you do have a better option if your tastes are less conspicuous.

The Trentain T-shirt company has captured all the steampunk attitude and impact in a series of t-shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies.  All these products are great attention getters and conversation starters.  Whether you are going to a concert, taking in a movie or lounging about the home with your friend, the quality and detail of these products are sure to put you in high standing with your friend that are “in the know” of the steampunk culture.

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