Remembering Lovelace as well as Babbage

15 years ago, June 14th was declared International Steampunk Day, but why?

The plain truth is that in 2008, then college student, Drew Mierzejewski wanted to host a Steampunk party and picked June 14th as “International Steampunk Day.” Since then, however, creative connections have been made that further validate June 14th as a special day for fans of Steampunk.

Back in 1822, on June 14th, Charles Babbage presented his ideas for the “Difference Engine,” and had the computing machine actually been built, the “Information Age” might have occurred during the reign of Queen Victoria. For many, this date marks the chasm where the Steampunk timeline diverges from that other timeline. Babbage gets a lot of credit for this monumental moment in alt-history, but he was not alone in his work; Augusta Ada King, the Countess of Lovelace, more commonly known as Ada Lovelace, was also crucial to the near invention of the Victorian computer.

Ironically, Lovelace’s father, the infamous “mad, bad and dangerous to know” poet Lord Byron was a Luddite. Byron presented speeches before the House of Lords defending followers of Ned Ludd in their destruction of mechanical looms; they feared that this modernization would put people out of work. Ada, however, was inspired by the punch cards used by these looms; she developed the idea into numerical punch cards that could be used for the calculating device that her friend Charles Babbage was designing. Lovelace also realized that such cards could be used for words, music, patterns, and anything else that could be encoded into symbols. While Babbage was visualizing a calculator, Lovelace had visions of what would become the computers that we know today.

So we say “Hip! Hip! Huzzah!” for Lovelace!

PS: Just five years earlier, in 1817, Byron’s friend Mary Shelley invented the Science Fiction genre with her novel Frankenstein . . . just sayin’ 🙂

Exposition Updates!
  • Two weeks ago we were in Bloomington, Illinois for Cogs & Corsets, and this weekend the Exposition delegates are visiting Cincinnati, Ohio for the International Steampunk Symposium.
  • Selections have begun for the 2024 Exposition vendor halls.
  • The Steam & Sorcery LARP is being revised to add some better streamlining and improvements for April 2024.

There are many different room types available:

  • King or Double – $129/night (plus tax & fees)
  • Junior Suite – $159/night (plus tax & fees)
  • Executive Suite – $179/night (plus tax & fees)
  • 1 Bedroom VIP Suite – $209/night (plus tax & fees)
  • 2 Bedroom VIP Suite – $329/night (plus tax & fees)

There are three specific blocks from which to choose. Click on block type to book your room.

Anyone wishing to host a room party should book their room in the Noise Friendly Block – CLICK HERE for more details about room parties on “The Row”

Artists, Authors, Exhibitors, & Vendors, please note that there is a separate block for you to which a booking link will be sent out to all successful applicants.

The 1893 Exposition premiered many new advancements in technology, and that year the world’s innovators were engaged in a race to harness electricity to provide power for humanity.  In the lead were Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison, with Tesla’s alternating current (A/C) concept going up against Edison’s direct current (D/C) system in what is known as the “Battle of the Currents;” a battle that came to a head in Chicago when Tesla was chosen over Edison.

Some speculate that Edison made an alliance with Count Graf Orlock to exact revenge upon Tesla. Others argue that it was the invention of the light bulb that drew the attention of the vampire councils. Whatever the reason, July 1893 secretly witnessed a dark cloud of Victorian Gothic horrors, Penny Dreadfuls come to life, and the looming presence of the Dark Prince fall upon the “White City.”

Tesla quickly realized that it would take more than just his alternating current electricity to protect the Exposition from Nosferatu’s army of darkness; Tesla needed an army of his own. Working hurriedly with Ferris, Professor Truelove, and Ada Lovelace, they managed to open a time and space portal to the year 2024, seeking the help of the most imaginative minds and creative souls who would beckon the call. Many social rebels and analog dreamers, so called “Steampunks,” responded to the plea and came to Tesla’s aid . . . but they were not the only ones to pass through the portal.

April 2024, will you align yourself with Tesla’s fight to protect the Exposition from this nightmare? Or will you join Edison’s alliance of darkness and be one of the creatures that lurk in the shadow of Nosferatu?

PLEASE NOTE that ALL costuming is welcome and does not have to be related to the theme, and you don’t even have to come in costume; 21st Century “Time Tumblers” are welcome to 1893 as well 🙂

The Exposition invites you to immerse yourself into the weekend’s story arc as we solve the Nosferatu mysteries with our Live Action Role Play game Steam & Sorcery.

Our team of “Fixers” has already begun work on the “Shadow of Nosferatu” script and other preparations for April 2024. In addition to solving the mystery of Nosferatu, there will be active competition between the four factions: the Knight Clubs, the Diamond Dogs, the Tarts with Hearts, and the Shadow Spades. Additionally, starting for April 2024 the LARP has joined forces with Chicago’s Otherworld Theatre troupe. In 2019, Otherworld Theatre participated in the first ever Chicago Steampunk Exposition with their Dungeons & Dragons improv show, and for 2024 they will play major parts in our live action role playing game. The recent Exposition offered a preview of the Steam & Sorcery LARP game, and in April 2024 we will bring to you the full immersive version. We are super excited to see what the combined talents and experience of the Exposition LARP Troupe and Otherworld Theatre working together will bring for players in our 2024 immersive game.

The FREE downloadable printer friendly Steam & Sorcery Players’ Guide is now available HERE.

Assemble your team of Smog Runners, get a mission from your Fixer, and run weekend long espionage and investigations into the four Robber Baronies that rule over Chicago in this 1893 timeline. You’ll need a QR code reader on your smartphone, a deck of playing cards, and your wits.

Call for Artists, Exhibitors, Vendors, & Writers!

Exhibitor applications are now open! CLICK HERE to apply today!

We are currently looking for speakers with knowledge of: Gothic Horror, Steampunk, Victoriana, costuming, maker arts, history, etc.

Chicago Steampunk Exposition is able offer Presenters a full weekend badge in exchange for two or more presentations (or relative equivalent).

Most sessions are required to be about 45 minutes in length; gaming sessions and certain workshops may require more time. If your session requires more time, please make a note in “Additional” box at the bottom of the form below to let us know.

If you would like to be part of the 2024 program and give a presentation, please CLICK HERE for our Presenter Application Form.

Join the Exposition Crew!

The Exposition is dedicated to providing Steampunk Fans a fun and safe weekend of entertainment, and to do so we need a dedicated Crew of fine volunteers.

If you would like to be part of the Exposition Crew, please fill out our Volunteer Application Form HERE and we will send you an invite to the next Crew Meeting.

Social Media

On the Horizon . . .
  • The Chicago Steampunk Exposition Film Festival
  • The Goblin King’s Masquerade
  • The Exposition Tea Parlor
  • . . . and more!

Chicago Steampunk Exposition