Steampunk inspiration and resources

Reblogs and Miscellaneous

Onwards and Upwards! To The Steampunk Journal and Beyond

Hiya Gearheads

I know, I know, I’ve been really quiet lately. For people who have been following me a while, you may have seen this happen before, and it’s a good sign there’s some sort of big announcement on the horizon…Today is no different.

I’ve been writing For Whom The Gear Turns for over three years and I have loved every minute. I’ve got over 500 posts under my stylish Steampunk utility belt, and in recognition of my hard work, I was recently approached by Matt Grayson of the Steampunk Journal. He was looking for a co-editor to help him run the world’s most popular Steampunk website, and when he made the offer to merge our sites into one super site I knew I had to accept.

You heard right folks, I’m moving on over to the Steampunk Journal!

Starting in February, you’ll be able to find my new articles posted at the Journal alongside updated versions of old reviews and articles you may have missed. For Whom The Gear Turns will stay up for a few months during the transition, but eventually I will move completely into my new digs at the Journal.

And I hope you’ll join me!

You didn’t think I’d leave you out in the cold now, did you? There are more ways than ever to hang with me on the interwebs and share in the growing Steampunk community. Pick your favorite or do all three; each has a different focus.


  1. Follow the Steampunk Journal – It’s a WordPress site just like this one, so it is easy to subscribe via email or your WordPress reader. This site began within a few months of my own, but Matt and I cover very different topics. I love history, books, and movies, and Matt does interviews, music and game reviews, and photography, so we have a really complementary balance of all things Steampunk to offer! So if you are in it purely for the Steampunk, follow me at the Journal.
  2. Check out my new author page and subscribe to my newsletter. I’m still setting up this site and editing excerpts to share, but if you are interested in hearing about what is going on with my fiction writing and appearances at conventions, this is the best way to follow along. I won’t inundate you with emails, either. The plan is to create a monthly newsletter that includes excerpts and news about my book-length projects like No Rest For The Wicked, Riftmaker, and my blog-to-book project, The Steampunk Handbook.
  3. Pinmart artJoin the United We Steampunk, Divided We Fall group on Facebook! There are weekly threads devoted to fun topics and tips, plus opportunities to post links to items for sale. The goal is to act as means to get makers and writers in contact with the fans and bloggers they need to succeed, but there’s plenty of fun and silliness there, too! If your goals involve connecting with the greater Steampunk community, then I highly recommend getting in on the ground floor of this new group.

Thank you all for sharing this journey with me, I couldn’t have done it without you!

I’ve loved running my little corner of the internet, and I appreciate your ongoing support of my projects and writing. I spent weeks struggling with this decision, but ultimately I believe this is the best way to ensure the future of the content I’ve already created, and to reach the largest possible audience moving forward.

Was there an article I wrote or something I recommended that has really stuck with you? Do you have concerns about the transition or not sure how to keep getting the type of content you want? Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Glub glub in a Steampunk Sub

I have started work on the sequel to Riftmaker, and I am planning to include a super cool Steampunk submarine. I have been collecting images for inspiration so I thought I’d share the fruits of my labors with you. When possible, I have credited the artist but most of these images came via Pinterest so if you see something miss-credited or you know who was the brains behind a certain sub please let me know.


“What is Steampunk?” Video Collection

There almost as many definitions of Steampunk as there are Steampunk enthusiasts, so here just a few of the short videos floating around youtube that try to answer the question, “What is Steampunk?”

This is my 300th Post!

My, how time flies when you’re having fun! Earlier this month I surpassed 40,000 views and 1000 likes, so thanks a lot for all of your shares and tweets about my articles. I started this site 18 months ago, and I keep finding great stuff to write about. I thought reaching my 300th post would be a good opportunity to compile links to my most viewed and shared articles in case you missed them the first time around, plus my personal favorites.


Most Viewed

Van Helsing review

Brothers Grimm review, and since it was posted the Fairy Tale Guide/Drinking Game to go with the film has also been very popular

My Artwork

Steampunk Movies and TV

Review: Dolls of New Albion at Ed Fringe (including links to listen to the album for free! I listen to it all the time, it is an amazing soundtrack.)


Most Shared

Steampunk Sourcebook: Captain Nemo

Steampunk Scrapbook Paper: “Steampunk Botanica” and “Memories Documented”

Music to Steampunk by: Lindsey Stirling

Steampunk Assemblage Clocks (by me!)

Steampunk Sourcebook: The Statue of Liberty


My Favorite Five Posts and Pages

Making it to the Party Early Does NOT Make it Your Party, an editorial about bullying and inclusivity

A Few Thoughts About Steampunk and War, an open response to a Beyond Victoriana article which advocated that you can’t have Steampunk without violent conflict in the story.

The Tips for Makers Series, insights about using different kinds of materials from my own work as well as sessions at Weekend at the Asylum V

How to Punk Your Steam series, exploring different ways to “punk” the Victorian era.

Steampunk Sourcebooks series, fun facts and interesting information about topics related to Steampunk and historical figures


Thanks again for your support!

“Heterosexual” is Yet Another Thing Invented in the Victorian Era

I recently ran across and article by Thomas Rogers in Salon magazine from 2012 that was an interview with Hanne Blank, the author of Straight: A Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality. I knew that “homosexual” was a relatively new word in our vocabulary, but I had never really thought about its counterpart, “heterosexual.” The article is all about the history of this word and the baggage that got attached to it by psychiatrists and evolutionary scientists in the early days of their crafts, aka the time period that much of Steampunk occupies. I haven’t had a chance to read Blank’s book, but I wanted to pass on a summary of the article.

From the Cover of Straight: A Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality

From the Cover of Straight: A Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality

The terms “homosexual” and “heterosexual” appear at the same time. According to Blank’s research, both were the invention of an Austro-Hungarian journalist writing about a piece of Prussian legislation that made certain acts between same-sex people illegal. He was trying to create two categories that were on equal footing as a way to address the hypocrisy of making some acts legal for some people, which the same acts were criminalized for others.

This was sometime in the mid-19th century, but the terminology didn’t really take off until closer to the end of the century. Thanks to the work of Sigmund Schlomo Freud (who is and will always be “Ziggy F” to me) and his acolytes during the 1880’s and 1890’s, people were suddenly being diagnosed with all kinds of crazy stuff. In regards to the term “heterosexual” Blank said it perfectly in the interview:

Psychiatry is responsible for creating the heterosexual in largely the same way that it is responsible for creating the various categories of sexual deviance that we are familiar with and recognize and define ourselves in opposition to. The period lasting from the late Victorian era to the first 20 or 30 years of the 20th century was a time of tremendous socioeconomic change, and people desperately wanted to give themselves a valid identity in this new world order. One of the ways people did that was establish themselves as sexually normative.

Ziggy F’s theories are largely a source of giggles nowadays, but when they were shiny and new they carried a lot of weight in society. The Zigster was more or less a narcissist and viewed himself to be the apex of human psychological development. Basically, if you followed his formula for ‘health’ what you arrived at was a heterosexual (and probably white) male. (Women were already hopeless cases according the F-man. He believed we were all born longing for a penis and it just went downhill from there.)

So now let’s bring romance into the equation. Keep in mind that for much of human history, “love” and “marriage” had very little to do with one another. Marriage was more often than not an alliance between families, more akin to a business arrangement than anything based on desire, and procreation was considered part of the bargain. You didn’t have sex with your partner because you WANTED to, you did it as part of your marital duties. Of course, if you desired your partner in addition to meeting the requirements of your contract then bully for you, but being attracted to your partner was not necessary to pass on the family name.

As I am sure you are aware, society at large was undergoing many changes during the Victorian period, and this is probably a big reason you find Steampunk compelling (I know this is true for me!). Cities were drawing people out of the countryside and crushing them together in close quarters. Women and people of color started to demand the right to vote. Workers began to demand better conditions and wages. And anarchists challenged the very fabric of society with their views. And when times get tough, people fall back on the simplest of relationships, the binary. Breaking a complex world into sets of two categories is much easier than investigating the gray area that lies between black and white. As Blank put it, they started to find an identity that proved their validity in a rapidly changing world.

Also, as people started to demand to be allowed to determine their own futures, they had to stop and think for the first time what it was they WANTED from life. So the question of desire and the shift to seeking out a partner because of your feelings of attraction and love came to the forefront of the discussion for the first time.

Blank’s book goes into far more detail and continues to unpack the term “heterosexual” and its relationship to gay, trans and other terminology and notions into to the present day, but I will leave off here. If you would like more information you can read the full interview, or buy the book.

Steampunk Valentine Cookies

Just a little something sweet to add to your Valentine’s Day! I don’t have the kitchen right now to attempt something like this, but they are gorgeous 🙂

by amber's hands

Sorry for the late post– there are still a few hours of Monday left in this time zone!

Ok, true confession: I’m kind of a geeky girl. I mean, I don’t go to conventions, but I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation, am an avid Doctor Who fan, still mourn the cancelling of Firefly, and watch dumb SyFy movies for fun. The latest sci-fi related thing I’m getting into is Steampunk. I realize I’m kind of late to the party on this one. But the more I read Epbot, the more I’m loving it.

But since I don’t go to conventions and the husband hates costume-related parties of any kind, there’s a limit to the useful steampunk crafts I can make. But then I realized steampunk would be a wicked cool theme for Valentine cookies. I’ve been crazy excited about making these for weeks, but haven’t…

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10 Months of Blogging and Powers of 10(ish)

I will get back to Steam Tour stuff in my next entry, but I hit a milestone yesterday (200 posts!) and I thought I’d take a moment to share some info with the blogosphere.

If you are a blogger then you probably spend at least some of your time worrying about your stats and traffic. It’s natural, you put a lot of energy into your posts and you want to know who is reading them, and how it compares to other blogs. But, there aren’t a lot of real concrete facts out there to look at and compare to your own progress. So in the spirit of sharing and adding to the data out in the ether for other bloggers to use, here are some stats from

What I have found so far is that there is something of a pattern starting to emerge, that loosely follows a series of powers of 10.

There have been 19,000+ hits on my blog, so let’s round it to 20,000 views for the sake of the math. This happened over the last 10 months or so, which averages to 2000 views per month. Of course, when I first started this was much lower, and August was my best month ever at around 3000.

There have been about 2400 shares, which we’ll round down to 2000 shares. This converts to around 10% of views turning into shares on Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Twitter, and Reddit (in that order).

I have gained about 190 WordPress followers, which we can round up to 200 followers, again for the math. So for every 100 views I have gained approximately 1 Wordpress follower. This also averages out to about 20 per month. I have followers on Facebook and Twitter as well, but WP followers seem to be the most consistent indicator.

And because I also just published my 200th post that comes out to about 1 WP follower per post.

Do you have stats to share? I’d love to compare notes!


Ladies spotted having tea on London Bridge

I think we should definitely stage a tea-bombing of our own during Steam Tour, don’t you agree? Let me know if you would be interested in showing up bedecked in finery (or just out to have a good time) to enjoy a nice cuppa together sometime between Aug 16-Sept 16. I won’t have the supplies with me as I will be living out of a back pack, but this seems like too much fun NOT to try to do during my research trip. Cheers!

Tea Bombing Two ladies in Victorian outfits set up a table and chairs then had tea in the middle of London Bridge.

A member of the steampunk community posted a link to a news story about two ladies that got dressed up and had tea on the central reservation of London Bridge on Monday morning. No-one is entirely sure why they did and it doesn’t look like anyone has found out who they are.Were they wearing Victorian? Someone has speculated Georgian.

Could it be a PR stunt? Prank? Or they simply got thirsty and just happened to have a full brew kit, china cups, Victorian outfits and a wrought iron bistro table and chairs on them at the time.

Whatever the reason, the term “Teabombing” has been coined and I’m willing to create a page dedicated to examples of it. Well as long as it’s in more sensible areas than…

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Writing Steampunk Women

This is a nice article for anyone who is struggling with what Steampunk means for female characters.

Writers Anon - Taunton's Writing Group

When it comes to genre fiction, women are often sidelined. Women rarely get to be in the sci-fi spotlight and are often cast in the supporting role in fantasy, as the heroes take control. The only place girls get to take the lead is when it’s a supernatural romance and even then they could be overshadowed by their paranormal love interest. However, Steampunk women get to have it all and that’s what makes them so enticing to write.

As our earlier post, 5 Elements of Steampunk outlined, the genre generally takes place in the Victorian period, but can go right through to a post-apocalyptic future and sometimes strays into earlier times, such as the Regency. In addition, steampunk is unusual because it is an aesthetic movement  and a subculture, as well as a literary genre. There is a thriving community of crafters, musicians and artists, as well as cosplayers, with…

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Amazing Steampunk Wedding in Minnesota

Hello friends!

It has been 9 days between posts, and that is the longest I have gone so far since I started this blog. I haven’t been able to finish any of the big posts I have been working on lately because of trying to fit my whole life into a couple of suitcases, but I wanted to make sure you got your infusion of steam for the week. A friend just sent me a link to a wonderful post showcasing a steampunk wedding so check out the stunning photos here.

On Monday I board the plane for my first leg of my 14-month European adventure. I will be working on an archaeological dig and I am not sure yet how much time I will be able to devote to ForWhomTheGearTurns during June and July. But never fear! The closer we get to Steam Tour (which now includes an Edinburgh leg Aug 8-15) the more posts you will start to see again.

Thanks so much in advance for your patience and I look forward to sharing everything I learn as I prepare for Steam Tour!


Greetings from the Big Apple!

"Liberty Enlightening the World"

“Liberty Enlightening the World”

1893: Proposed Designs for Tower Bridge

I am definitely going to visit and write about the Tower Bridge during my Steam Tour!

Michael Bradley - Time Traveler

1893: Proposed designs for Tower Bridge

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Mall Security Frowns on Steampunk Shenanigans

The Carousal Cavalry

The Carousal Cavalry

This is an excerpt from an article by Pam Kragen, you can read the full text here.

“CARLSBAD — A group of adult carousel riders dressed in Victorian gowns, morning coats, bowler hats and pith helmets were kicked out of the Westfield Plaza Camino Real mall last week because security guards claimed their costumes violated mall rules.

About 25 members of the loosely organized SD Steamy Carousel Cavalry met at 1 p.m. Feb. 9 to enjoy the indoor mall’s old-fashioned, 18-animal carousel. But before the group of nattily attired adults in their 30s to 60s could mount the painted horses, bears and giraffes, a trio of mall security officers ushered them outside and called Oceanside police to ensure against a ruckus in the parking lot.

Members of the costumed group are furious over their eviction.

“These were mature people in Victorian finery with a little sci-fi edge,” said San Diego resident Mercy Baron, who is in her late 50s. “We were very civil, very polite, because we espouse Victorian manners … We were treated like criminals.”

Check out the rest of the article, including the petition this incident has sparked here.

WIN! A copy of Steampunk Style

Check out this short story competition from my friends over at the Steampunk Journal! I am getting ready to pack and move again so I don’t know if I have the time, but maybe you will get a chance.

Enter our writing contest for a chance to win a copy of Steampunk Style Steampunk Style writing competition

Would you like to win a copy of Steampunk Style that I recently reviewed? It received an Editor’s Choice award because of the quality of the book, beautiful photography and “How to” projects for you to try to build your own steampunk accessories.

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Steampunk side-car

Here is another one for my Steampunk vehicle post!

Copyright Marco Furnaletto Steampunk side-car

I first saw this side-car on Facebook from a post by the facially elusive Captain Constance Bashford. It’s designed by Italian 3D artist Marco Furlanetto. His website is currently undergoing maintenance but I managed to harvest a few photographs from AutoEvolution and the article they covered on his work.

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The Best Evidence I’ve Seen for the Existence of Atlantis

I was at and I ran across a fun article about “6 Insane Discoveries That Science Can’t Explain” and I found #5 especially interesting. This looks like the best evidence for Atlantis yet…
#5.The Antikythera Mechanism

The Mystery:

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient, intricate machine found in a shipwreck near Greece that dates back to about 100 BC. The Antikythera mechanism contains gears and structures that were not found in devices again for 1000 years, and only then when the Muslims and Chinese were busy inventing shit while the Europeans were busy killing each other.

Why Can’t They Solve It?

First, no one can agree on where the Antikythera mechanism was made or who designed it. Popular belief was that it was made by the Greeks due to its instructions all being in Greek (about a million of our tax dollars were probably spent arriving at that genius conclusion) but serious research published in serious places suggested the design came from Sicily.

And a billion parts with indecipherable instructions suggest it comes from Ikea. Ba-zing!

The mechanism, aside from placing you at serious risk for severing a finger, was supposedly used to figure out astronomical positions. The problem with that is that at the time this thing was made, no one had yet discovered laws of gravity or how heavenly bodies moved.

In other words, the Antikythera mechanism appears to have functions that no one alive at that time would have understood, and no single mechanical purpose of that era (such as navigating ships) explains the crazy number of functions and settings this machine has.

Our Guess: It’s a scrap from a time machine that exploded the moment it arrived in the past

Read more:

What’s your theory? Comment and Share below!




Put the Steampunk into your LEGO

You really can make anything with Legos…

Steampunk Isn’t Science Fiction

Steampunk Isn’t Science Fiction.

This is a nice piece by Lisa Walker England about figuring out why Steampunk resonates with her. Also, some fun pictures from the last TeslaCon,


Steampunks, Stand & Be Counted!

Check out this exciting way to celebrate all things Steampunk this February!

Teslagrad – Laws of Attraction

This puzzle game sounds really fun and it has a definite steampunk look.

spoiled broth

PLATFORM: PC – Windows ¦ DEVELOPER: Rain Games ¦ RELEASE DATE: 13/12/2013

Teslagrad says everything it needs to say within the first five minutes. The fact that in spite of this you will play for the next five hours is a testament to the games design.

This is the first outing for indie developer RainGames,but in Teslagrad, they have shown the design prowess of veterans. 2D puzzle and skill based platformers have become a crowded genre in the indie scene, even so Teslagrad manages to stand out with a combination of new wave aesthetic and old school functionality. The visuals reek of modern indie charm and the narrative is told in an all too familiar minimalist build. However, at its core, Teslagrad functions with the trial and error, fidelity based gameplay of a classic platformer.


Set in an indistinguishable time period that is visually reminiscent of…

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Superpowers ‘n Steam

It was really cool to read about what these authors feel is compelling about writing in the steampunk genre. A couple of them emphasized the feelings of discovery and paying homage to a time when anyone could be an inventor, technology was still intuitive and the inner workings knowable.


capesandclockworkbookcoverDuring a forgotten time when the world was powered by steam and clockwork, heroes arose to do battle against the forces of evil. Some were outfitted with the latest technology. Others were changed by the mysteries of science and magic, while a few came from the skies. Capes and Clockwork fuses the fantasy and beauty of steampunk with the action and adventure of the superhero genre. Tease your imagination with sixteen stories of good versus evil, monster versus hero, and steam versus muscle! 

The Capes and Clockwork Anthology was published on January 1, 2014 by Dark Oak Press – what a great way to start off the year!

I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to some of the authors of this anthology –

Are you primarily a short story writer or novel length?

Alan D Lewis:  I’ve written both and enjoy both. A novel gives you plenty…

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I’m Somebody’s Sunshine!

sunshine award banner

Thanks a lot to Bia Helvetti for nominating my blog for a Sunshine Award. I am very new to the blogosphere (just hit 1,000 views yesterday!) and Bia was one of my very first followers. Her blog is all about story-telling and I’ve been enjoying her stories and our dialog so far. Check out her blog, Child of the Island, here!

So the way the Sunshine Award works is that now that I displayed the logo and gave a shout out to the person who nominated me, it is my job to tell you 10 fun things about myself and then share the love with 10 other blogs I enjoy. So here goes!

First, a few things about me.

1. I think puns are the highest form of comedy and a clever play on words will keep can keep me giggling for days. For instance, my toy poodle is named Gadget (because he’s a toy, get it?)

2. I buy movies based on what I call its rewatchability rating. I am not interested in keeping movies around unless I plan to watch them at least 5 times.

3. A spoonful of sweetened condensed milk in a cup of rich black coffee is pretty much like heaven. (By the way, if you are ever confronted with a yuckily bitter cup of coffee you can add a little shake of salt to it and the bitterness disappears and leaves just the coffee flavor behind.)

4. When I want to try cooking a new food I read at least 4 different recipes and follow none of them. I prefer to combine the best parts of each and make something new and uniquely mine.

5. I used to work in a lending library in a science museum and it was my job to hang around and wait for people to ask me questions about natural history. My favorite encounter was with an 8-year-old who was afraid of werewolves and his mom wanted me to provide a scientific explanation for why werewolves aren’t real.

6. I originally planned to be an art major in college but I ultimately went for Cultural Anthropology. I am very grateful for that education and the way it has broadened my perspective and understanding of the people, past and present, who populate our world.

7. When in my teens I thought I was going to be an artist or writer, but I changed trajectory in college. Now I am really enjoying a return to wordsmithing on this blog and I am working on a novel as well. I am not sure exactly what to call the genre I am writing in because it is one part science and one part magic, because after all, magic is what we call things we don’t yet understand. So for brevity’s sake I just call it Steampunk.

8. I really enjoy making crafts, not just the finished product but creating craft projects for others. In my museum work I have created/adapted several crafts to go along with programming themes and special events. I am looking forward to doing more of that for the blog so stay tuned for more tutorials like my Christmas ornaments.

9. My dad says that my mother and I must both have buttons in our butts because every time we sit down to play cards or a game we start to sing.

10. I am going on an archaeological dig in Greece this summer as an object photographer.

Bahamas Sunrise

Now, 10 more blogs that add a little sunshine to my life (in no particular order):

1. Andrew Knighton Writes– Andrew is an author who writes insightful posts about writing, reading and life. I mostly read his posts via my wordpress reader but I also really like the theme for his site.

2. Hovercraftdoggy– “Art, architecture, design and photography blog- for your daily dose of inspiration, creativity and beauty.” Whenever one of these posts shows up in my blogroll I know I am in store for some interesting images. Recently there was a really interesting gallery of cosplayers in costume but in their own homes. Very cool.

3. History with a twist– David Lawlor is a journalist who enjoys writing about obscure figures in history. I ran across his entertaining blog when I was looking for information about Emperor Norton (America’s one and only monarch), but ended up reading lots of short articles about things like the transvestite in Custer’s army and covert military sniper trees.

4. Live to write – Write to live– This is a nice blog about writing for writers based out of New Hampshire.

5. Michael Bradley Time Traveler– This is a super fun blog under the “humor and observations” umbrella. I seldom see a preview of a post without looking at the whole thing. Two highlights of this week was an article about how cow farts are destroying the environment and Chinese character tattoo fails. He does not write all the content himself but I like the articles he brings together.

6. MUSE-aholic– all things surreal, psychedelic and quirky in visual art. This site is devoted to art in the extreme. I was mesmerized by the recent conceptual photography post.

7. STEAMED! A steampunk writing blog. I really enjoyed Twas the Night Before Christmas with airship pirates this week.

8. ILLUSTRATION AGE– I am a very visual person so blogs with lots of images always appeal to me. This one features work by many different illustrators.

9. Traveler’s Steampunk Blog– This steamy blog has fun pictures of cosplay and podcasts about the Steampunk scene.

10. Old Design Shop– free vintage images to inspire and add to your creations.

Who adds sunshine to your day?

Emperor Norton: America’s one and only monarch…

I had planned to do a piece on Norton I, the Emperor of the United States, myself, but I found this one while doing my research and I really liked it. I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area so I had heard of Norton before and I think of him as basically a steampunk in his own time. He certainly “punked” the status quo in the 1860s-1870s.


 “At the peremptory request and desire of a large majority of the citizens of these  United States, I, Joshua Norton, formerly of Algoa Bay, Cape of Good Hope, and now for the last 9 years and 10 months past of S. F., Cal., declare and proclaim myself Emperor of these U. S.; and in virtue of the authority thereby in me vested, do hereby order and direct the representatives of the different States of the Union to assemble in Musical Hall, of this city, on the 1st day of Feb. next, then and there to make such alterations in the existing laws of the Union as may ameliorate the evils under which the country is laboring, and thereby cause confidence to exist, both at home and abroad, in our stability and integrity.
—NORTON I, Emperor of the United States.

As proclamations go, that sounds pretty impressive, especially when you consider…

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