Steampunk: From the Earth to the Moon

The picture shows a view from the Moon towards the earth, with a brass Telemeter set up to measure the diameter of the earth in angular degrees. The measured angular size of the earth is 1.9° and we know that the diameter of the earth is 12,700 km. The aligned values on the Telemeter nomogram yield a result of 380,000 km as the distance.

While Wndsn instruments have been developed independently from Jules Verne, they certainly share a similar spirit of exploration and phantastic possibilities. And even though the brass Telemeter is a decidely low-tech instrument, not requiring steam to operate (maybe in its manufacturing), it does blend seemlessly into Victorian and brass-laden steampunk stories.

Jules Verne

Jules Verne is known for his vivid and detailed descriptions of the places and events that feature in his stories. He often incorporates scientific and technical detail into his writing, which creates a sense of realism and credibility. In addition to describing the physical setting and environment, Verne also frequently uses imagery to convey the emotions and experiences of his characters. For example, he might use vivid, exaggerated imagery to describe the beauty of a natural landscape or the excitement of a journey through unknown territory. Verne's use of imagery is probably the most important element of his storytelling, helping to create immersive and engaging reading experiences.

  • In his novel "From the Earth to the Moon," Verne describes the design and construction of a cannon that is used to launch a manned spacecraft to the Moon. He includes details about the size and shape of the cannon, as well as the materials used in its construction and the calculations that were used to determine its trajectory and direction.
  • In "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," Verne describes the design and operation of the Nautilus, the submarine that serves as the main setting for the story. He includes detailed explanations of the vessel's engines, its electrical and mechanical systems, as well as its various compartments and amenities.
  • In "Around the World in Eighty Days," Verne describes many modes of transportation that the main character, Phileas Fogg, uses during his journey. These include trains, steamboats, and even an elephant. Verne includes great detail about the speed and capabilities of these vehicles, as well as the challenges they face during the trip.
  • In "Journey to the Center of the Earth," Verne describes the scientific and technical equipment that the characters use to explore the underground world. This includes items such as a thermometer, a barometer, and a device that measures the Earth's magnetic field.
  • In "The Mysterious Island," Verne describes the practical and scientific knowledge that the characters use to survive on the deserted island. This includes themes such as agriculture, livestock, and the use of natural resources for shelter and other necessities.


Jules Verne's stories are often considered a foundational influence on the steampunk genre. Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that combines samples of Victorian-era technology and aesthetics with futuristic and wildly speculative elements. Verne's stories often include themes that are commonly associated with steampunk, such as advanced technology, alternative histories, and Victorian-era settings. For example, in "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," the Nautilus is a technologically advanced submarine that incorporates strong hints of Victorian design and engineering. Similarly, "From the Earth to the Moon" features a cannon that is used to launch a manned spacecraft, combining futuristic technology with a Victorian-era backdrop. Verne's stories are often seen as forerunners of the steampunk genre, and his influence is widely acknowledged.


Brass is a common material used in steampunk because it was widely used in the technology and design of the Victorian era. Brass, with its yellowish color that can be polished to a bright shine is relatively easy to work with and has good resistance to corrosion, which made it a popular choice for use in a wide variety of applications. In the Victorian era, brass was commonly used in the manufacture of household items such as candlesticks, doorknobs, and other decorative and functional objects such as the construction of musical instruments, scientific instruments, and other technical devices. The use of brass in these and other applications gives it a strong association with the Victorian era, which is typically evoked in steampunk storytelling. In addition to its historical significance, brass is visually appealing and adds a sense of richness and sophistication to steampunk designs.