Steampunk is a fantasy style or genre of building and dress, some may say an entire mindset, that operates under the pretense that steam power and clockwork mechanisms continued to dominate the technological landscape up to the desired era (sometimes set in the actual present, other times cast back as far as the 19th century or even projected into the future). Steampunk focuses on real, theoretical or cinematic Victorian-era technology, including steam engines, clockwork devices, and difference engines. Many steampunk devices tend to have apparently whimsical and otherwise superfluous wheels and gears and other decorations; possibly to help convey the a more thorough steampunk image.
It should be noted that most, if not all, steampunk devices forsake modern synthetic materials for metals, wood, leather, and cotton.
- A steampunk computer, rather than being comprised of silicon chips and copper traces all running on electricity, might be powered by a steam outlet that actuates minute turbines, which turn tiny gears, actuate little arms and levers, or any number of other contrivances.
- A steampunk car (see picture at right) would have a large boiler from which to derive its steam power, and have a much more complex and intricate system of gears and driveshafts than a normal internal combustion based car.