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Ornate steampunk computer desk really works

Bruce Rosenbaum's wonderfully baroque steampunk computer desk pulls out all the stops--literally. This working PC and screen is encased in a Victorian pump organ.

The Steampunk Workshop

If the Phantom of the Opera had a desk job, this would be his workstation.

We've seen lots of steampunk stuff before, from RSS feeds in Morse code to ray guns, and it's often cool but pretty useless. Well, meet the Victorian Organ Command Desk. It works, and it looks gorgeous while doing so.

Bruce Rosenbaum of Massachusetts home restoration firm ModVic literally pulled out all the stops when he built this baroque workstation out of a demolished church's organ. He gutted the pump and innards, replacing them with three monitors, a 3GHz AMD Phenom II X4 945 processor running Windows 7 Ultimate, 3GB of RAM, a 1TB HD, and lots of other goodies. For more pics of this awesome machine, see our photo gallery.

The steampunk aesthetic reflects the Victorian love of craftsmanship and fine detail. Rosenbaum admires beautifully designed objects, but prefers practical tools to museum objects. When he decided to build a new PC desk, he scoured eBay and local antique fairs for parts he could repurpose, eventually spending thousands of dollars. It then took six months and help from three other specialists to build the desk.

Rosenbaum uses his ornate desk every day. Here are some interesting details and hidden features:

  • All switches and knobs on the desk have a function. The power switch, for instance, is a two-button unit that requires both buttons to be pushed simultaneously.
  • The old-fashioned keyboard is a completely rebuilt Logitech PC keyboard fitted with solid-glass Royal typewriter keys from the early 1900s. Special brass keys were created for keys that didn't exist then, such as the Esc key and function keys.
  • The keyboard moves back to reveal an Epson Perfection V300 scanner built in to the desk, which also hides a Samsung CLP-310 laser printer.
  • The LCD mini-monitors are taken from digital photo frames and powered off a USB.
  • A 4GB USB thumb drive is fashioned from old watch components and features a blinking yellow light.
  • The Webcam is a modified Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD (720p) fitted in antique Brownie bellows camera.
  • Sound comes out of two reproduction cygnet horns.
  • Decorative features include old kerosene coach lamps (converted to electric), antique crystal door knobs that light up, and a working clock that looks like a steam gauge.

The Organ Command Desk isn't the only heavily retrofitted piece in the Rosenbaum residence, a 1901 Victorian/Craftsman home in Sharon, Mass. Their steampunk abode also features a "Modern Victorian" kitchen, with a converted 19th century cooking stove, a printer's desk, and a copper water tank.

I'm hoping Rosenbaum keeps on steampunking, full steam ahead. Could a Difference Engine be far off?

(Via The Steampunk Workshop)