Questions tagged [steampunk]

For questions based in worlds where technology is typically steam-powered rather than based on electricity.

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21
votes
18answers
4k views

Quick destruction of a helium filled airship?

I am writing a steampunk novel and am working on a scene where an enemy quickly overwhelms and destroys a US airship. The enemy has flying gyro sleds and a large airship of their own that is armed ...
6
votes
6answers
465 views

Realistic rollerblade steam propulsion device, like something that might have been invented with 18th century technology. Is it possible?

This was an idea generated by my sister that I thought was very interesting. I intended to make it work by strapping rollerblades on a person's legs and utilize a compressed gas/steam-powered pumping ...
4
votes
4answers
146 views

What would the port of an airship be called? [closed]

Marine ships and boats have ports. Airplanes have airports. In scifi spaceships can have space ports. What would be the airship equivalent in a steampunk world where marine ships are still heavily ...
4
votes
1answer
200 views

Steam-powered organ

Today I visited a two hours long organ concert (man, it was amazing) and weird idea have popped up in my head: organ powered by steam instead of pressurized air. This also made me thinking that it ...
3
votes
2answers
159 views

How high can a Victorian-era kite sail be flown?

A big problem with Steampunk airships is how to propel them. Steam engines tend to be too heavy to be useful. And sails cannot be used, because unlike sea-going ships, airships are in contact with ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

A society built an airship. What else? [closed]

A steampunk society managed to develop functioning airships filled with helium, powered by a steam engine. They mine this helium from an underground reservoir along with other natural gas. What else ...
1
vote
3answers
282 views

Biggest possible Steampunk Airship? [duplicate]

I have noticed that one thing that is very common among steampunk airship art is that the size of the decks beneath the gas chamber is outrageously larger than that of the real world. Example: ...
0
votes
4answers
279 views

Need help developing a weapon for destroying a dam [closed]

I am working on a story that happens in a dystopian world where the only source of energy is Coal. I wanted to know whether it is possible to break a dam by pressurizing Dam walls with coal GAS ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

Hot air balloons lifting bridges in volcanic areas are possible?

In this world, there is a land isolated by a lava line, and the only way to get in there, is across a bridge levitated by hot air balloons. I had the idea of making a wooden bridge being supported by ...
9
votes
13answers
5k views

What historical events would have to change in order to make 19th century “steampunk” technology possible?

I know this is similar to this question but I'm not interested in suppressing 20th century tech to create 21st century steampunk, but in creating late 19th century steampunk with fantastic, Jules ...
4
votes
3answers
233 views

need help building a convincing Airship steam engine room [closed]

Building a world with airships that are powered by steam engines. Big boiler, water tank, lots of coal. Enormous engine room. Propellers, masts with huge sails. There are steam-powered automatons in ...
14
votes
10answers
4k views

Could solar power be utilized and substitute coal in the 19th century?

Would it be possible for a nation with 19th century to very early 20th century technology and history and hot desert climate to utilize solar power for electrical generation as a substitute for coal ...
-2
votes
1answer
138 views

Steam-Assisted Victorian Engineers - Why the secrecy? [closed]

Background Isambard Kingdom Brunel FRS 9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859, was an English mechanical and civil engineer who is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in ...
20
votes
10answers
3k views

What types of things could go wrong in an airship during a storm?

In the scene of one of my stories, an airship gets hit by a violent storm. Apart from exploding (which isn't helpful to the main character), what other things could go wrong that would be fixable? ...
6
votes
4answers
221 views

How could it rain oil?

It’s 2019 in an alternate steampunk/dieselpunk universe. Population growth, dwindling resources, and the evil overlords have everyone cramped into big cities, toiling away in the hope of something ...
4
votes
1answer
182 views

Super Strong robotic prosthesis steampunk Style

I'm thinking of a character that has the magical ability to transform parts of his body into technology, similar to Generator Rex or Bleeding armor iron man, but only with the technology that he "...
7
votes
5answers
219 views

Can-and-String Telecommunications Network - Repeaters and Amplifiers

Background We know about the can-and-string telephone. There are various claims about the maximum distance over which this is effective. Let's say 100 feet is possible without too much loss and ...
1
vote
0answers
166 views

Atomic Steampunk [closed]

I know steampunk, or rather, steam and coal technology is very limited, needs lots of space, little portability and little energy use. But nuclear plants use the same thing, the only difference is ...
7
votes
1answer
241 views

What is a realistic computational limit for a handtool-made mechanic computer?

This question here brought up interesting points on what kind of distribution we could expect for the increase in computational power of mechanical computers in a world relying solely on such non-...
10
votes
4answers
823 views

Feasibility of a purely mechanical grayscale “computer monitor”

Based on a previous question asking about mechanical computing (Babbage engines, etc.) I wondered how a steampunk story could present the concept of a modern computer monitor in a steam-driven ...
22
votes
8answers
5k views

Would Moore's Law apply to mechanical computers?

We know through the works of Babbage, Lovelace, et al. that mechanical computers (computers operating through gears, cogs, etc., and powered by steam or some other arbitrary non-electric power source) ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Steam Powered Door

I'm no engineer, but I was wondering how a steam-powered door would work. I want it to be difficult to open unless you know how (not a simple "twist the doorknob and open"). There is access to plenty ...
11
votes
9answers
4k views

Victorian CCTV?

In a setting of late Victorian technology, would it be possible to record and replay sound and light near-real-time similar to modern video-recordings? The ideal criteria for the system would be (in ...
2
votes
0answers
113 views

Implications of phlogiston theory? [closed]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlogiston_theory Assuming experiments in the 1770s had proven phlogiston theory correct instead of invalidating it, what would the implications be for the development ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Could people of the 14th century create an inline engine for use in aircraft and vehicles?

If an expert of some kind travels back in time to the 14th or 15th century with modern tools and machines that don't require power to work and if he were to past on the knowledge of modern technology ...
11
votes
2answers
811 views

“Magic” diamonds for fuel?

The subterranean nation of Glot has developed the ability to “thermally link” two equally sized diamonds, such that they are always the same temperature, regardless of spatial separation. We can ...
3
votes
3answers
135 views

Would Be Possible To Build A Small, Lightweight Boiler For Airships

I am wondering if it would be possible to make very lightweight and small steam engines for airships. Said airships engines are actually electric, but the boiler generates the electricity (via a ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

Feasibility of electrically heated steam engine

I was looking into the Dobles of years past after watching videos of Jay Leno's Doble E-20 and was trying to imagine how one could make the steam car a viable competitor to EVs and obviously one of ...
18
votes
8answers
4k views

How can you justify a steampunk society in which electricity exists and the understanding to use it (though rudimentary) is present?

In most modern steampunk settings you see rudimentary use of electricity (a good example is Dishonored) however, no one seems to be too interested in advancing electric technology beyond very crude ...
1
vote
0answers
108 views

Steam Locomotive without Industrial Revolution? [closed]

In the world I'm building, there is a steam-powered train, but it's a steam turbine locomotive, not a steam piston locomotive. Otherwise, the desired technological level of the world is (more or less) ...
3
votes
1answer
141 views

How much can you tow with a steam vehicle and still have the ability to turn?

How much can you tow with a steam vehicle and still have the ability to turn? We are working with very early steam engines, so multiple pistons are not fancied, but accepted. Size is of no mater ...
5
votes
2answers
142 views

Combining Wingsuits and Steampunk

I'm creating a city that uses wing suits to get from high elevated areas to lower areas. It's not a "steampunk" world, but they do rely on steam power. I wanted to create a way for them to land ...
2
votes
2answers
133 views

Steam Powered Stem Cell Bank

Context You know those thing called blood banks, well they have some for specifically cells, which are called cell banks. Essentially they preserve the cells and stop their growth for later use. Now ...
19
votes
15answers
4k views

Steam Powered Hammer

Question So lets say a post-apocalyptic society that primarily uses steam to power everything wants to make war hammers that have their impact force enhanced through the power of steam. What ways ...
16
votes
11answers
1k views

What sort of rules / limitations could govern and affect a crystal resource that is both anti-gravity and energy-producing?

I apologise if this is rather vague but I'm struggling with creating a concept that would allow a Victorian (steampunk) civilisation to have antigravity ships and floating islands through the use of a ...
5
votes
2answers
159 views

Could one build a magnetic device capable of taking out the electronics of a mech/tank?

I'm writing a steampunk novel set 600 years into the future after WWIII sends humankind back to the stone age. Slowly, the survivors begin industrializing again, and currently have steam technology ...
0
votes
4answers
267 views

How would an airship battle work if using cannons that needed to rotate 360 degrees?

Because airships need to raid gleam engines for fuel and fight rival pirates' airships the weapon systems would have the ability to point in all different directions. How would the rotation work for ...
0
votes
2answers
179 views

Reasonable Legislative Restrictions on a Super Weapon [closed]

Scenario: A small nation has recently discovered an old, powerful Airship. The world knows this Airship only in legend and the possibilities that it can offer to any nation are endless. Although ...
5
votes
5answers
343 views

Rebuilding an Empire

Scenario: The world has suffered from near apocalyptic cataclysm from the new birth of a God. The nations of the world have teamed up and defeated the Evil God and have formed a new Alliance of ...
-2
votes
2answers
218 views

Would this bow work in real life? [closed]

The bow in question is this one that the girl is using. https://i.redd.it/jjbrxnq1krb01.gif The setting is steampunk. The idea behind it is that the common enemy of the world are Zombies that have ...
2
votes
6answers
570 views

Creating a steampunk-esque/cybernetic “Big Iron” revolver

I've gone through most of the--quite few surprisingly--steampunk questions and although one answered my question for how a steam powered arm may function, this arm has a lot of exceptions. I'm ...
1
vote
0answers
75 views

Can a revolver with ice bullets work? [duplicate]

In a steampunk fantasy world one of my characters has ice magic and he uses a revolver as a weapon so that when he runs out of bullets he can create them using his magic. I was wondering whether ...
89
votes
15answers
27k views

If the Romans found one working steam engine would they have been able to copy and use it?

I Previously asked if the Romans could have built a steam engine to power a ship, which received a number of answers perhaps best summarised as “probably not but…”. Assuming the Romans couldn’t have ...
6
votes
6answers
615 views

What communication methods would be used on military steampunk aircraft?

In a steampunk world with airships and airplanes, but which lacks radio, how would different aircraft communicate, and how would they communicate with the ground? Would a form of semaphore, using ...
2
votes
0answers
193 views

How could a true steampunk era have started? [closed]

In the 17/1800s, England was very much powered by steam. However, not much advanced in the department outside of factory machinery. I feel that, had workers been given decent wages and hours, maybe ...
34
votes
6answers
5k views

How do steampunk civilizations get lifting gas?

Steampunk airships typically use either helium or hydrogen as a source of lift (depending on the world). However, the source of the gas is often not fully explained, or even not mentioned at all. ...
4
votes
9answers
1k views

What fields of computer science would change in a world with mechanical computers?

In this world, after Babbage designed his analytical engine, research lead to developpement of mechanical computers based on Babbage's model but with tinier and tinier metal pieces (going on the ...
5
votes
7answers
475 views

Countries that have different genre settings but set in one world. Is that even possible?

I’m new to worldbuilding and have started building my world last week. The world that I'm trying to make is a paranormal fantasy but as I was building the world I had an idea that I wanted to ...
0
votes
3answers
716 views

How advanced could a civilization get without electricity and explosives?

Rules It is impossible for human beings to use electricity for non-biological functions Any chemical reaction that would be utilized specifically to cause the rapid expansion of particles is ...
-2
votes
2answers
496 views

Steam powered airships [duplicate]

So is it possible that an airship could actually fly using a steam engine? For example a blimp like airship that could carry a dozen or so people, as well as coal for a fuel source, and obviously a ...