Thomas Willeford

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Thomas Dean Willeford V (born October 29, 1964) is a steampunk writer, artist, and maker. He is particularly known for his work appearing on television, and for his book Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos. [1] He lives and works in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, doing business as Brute Force Studios. [1] [2] [3] His steampunk subculture persona, aka "steamsona", is Lord Archibald "Feathers" Featherstone. [3] [4]

Steampunk Science fiction genre inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery

Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction or science fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century British Victorian era or the American "Wild West", in a future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. However, steampunk and neo-Victorian are different in that the neo-Victorian movement does not extrapolate on technology while technology is a key aspect of steampunk.

Maker culture community interested in do-it-yourself technical pursuits

The maker culture is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of DIY culture that intersects with hacker culture and revels in the creation of new devices as well as tinkering with existing ones. The maker culture in general supports open-source hardware. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of Computer Numeric Control tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and, mainly, its predecessor, the traditional Arts and arts & crafts. The subculture stresses a cut-and-paste approach to standardized hobbyist technologies, and encourages cookbook re-use of designs published on websites and maker-oriented publications. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them to reference designs. There is also growing work on equity and the maker culture.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Capital of Pennsylvania

Harrisburg is the capital city of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States, and the county seat of Dauphin County. With a population of 49,229, it is the 15th largest city in the Commonwealth. It lies on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, 107 miles (172 km) west of Philadelphia. Harrisburg is the anchor of the Susquehanna Valley metropolitan area, which had a 2018 estimated population of 574,659, making it the fourth most populous in Pennsylvania and 96th most populous in the United States.


Early life and education

Brought up in a Victorian house with a "mad scientist" grandfather who worked for DuPont, [5] [6] Willeford was educated at University of Maryland, College Park, Shenandoah University, University of Delaware, and University of Oxford.

DuPont American chemical company

DuPont de Nemours, Inc., commonly known as DuPont, is an American company formed by the merger of Dow Chemical and DuPont on August 31, 2017, and then subsequent spinoffs of Dow Inc. and Corteva. Prior to the spinoffs it was the world's largest chemical company in terms of sales.

University of Maryland, College Park public research university in the city of College Park in Prince Georges County, Maryland

The University of Maryland, College Park is a public research university in College Park, Maryland, United States. Founded in 1856, UMD is the flagship institution of the University System of Maryland, and is the largest university in both the state and the Washington metropolitan area, with more than 41,000 students representing all fifty states and 123 countries, and a global alumni network of over 360,000. Its twelve schools and colleges together offer over 200 degree-granting programs, including 92 undergraduate majors, 107 master's programs, and 83 doctoral programs. UMD is a member of the Association of American Universities and competes in intercollegiate athletics as a member of the Big Ten Conference.

Shenandoah University

Shenandoah University is a private university in Winchester, Virginia. It has an enrollment of approximately 4,000 students across more than 100 programs in seven schools: College of Arts & Sciences, Harry F. Byrd Jr. School of Business, Shenandoah Conservatory, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing, School of Health Professions and the School of Education & Human Development. Shenandoah University is one of five United Methodist Church-affiliated institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Thomas Willeford in his Studio. Thomas Willeford.jpg
Thomas Willeford in his Studio.

In 1988 Willeford became interested in steampunk and began working on creating pieces combining his love of engineering and art. [7] Willeford created the steampunk arm worn by Nathan Fillion in episode 3.4 of the television series Castle. [8] [6] [9] His work has been displayed at the University of Oxford's Museum of the History of Science, [10] at the Steampunk Bizarre Experiment, [11] the Penn State Berks Freyberger Gallery, [12] at Nemo's Steampunk Art & Invention Gallery [2] and at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation, [13] [4] and has been featured in Popular Mechanics. [14] He is a contributor to Bruce Boxleitner's Lantern City [4] and was a judge on Game Show Network's Steampunk'd . [15]

Nathan Fillion Canadian-American actor

Nathan Fillion is a Canadian-American actor and voice actor, best known for the leading roles of Captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds on Firefly and its film continuation Serenity, Richard Castle on Castle and John Nolan on The Rookie.

<i>Castle</i> (TV series) American police procedural comedy-drama television series (2009-2016)

Castle is an American crime-comedy-drama television series, which aired on ABC for a total of eight seasons from March 9, 2009, to May 16, 2016. The series was produced jointly by Beacon Pictures and ABC Studios.

Game Show Network American digital cable and satellite television channel

Game Show Network is an American pay television channel that is a joint venture between Sony Pictures Television and AT&T.

Willeford was a guest curator for the Steampunk U exhibit at the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey, PA. [16]

Awards and recognition


  1. Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos: A Maker’s Guide to Creating Modern Artifacts. McGraw-Hill. October 2011. ISBN   0-07-176236-1.
  2. The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide: Contraptions, Creations, and Curiosities Anyone Can Make. McGraw-Hill. October 2013. ISBN   0-07-182780-3.



2010 Castle PropsSteampunk Arm [18]
2010 Oddities Himself [19]
2013Old Folks HomeHimselfEpisode "Blow Off Some Steampunk" [20]
2015 Steampunk'd HimselfAs a judge [21]

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  1. 1 2 Kelly, James Floyd. "Create Your Own Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos". Conde Nast. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  2. 1 2 Hornyak, Tim. "Breathing apparatus". Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  3. 1 2 Pho, Diana M. (2012-09-20). "The Dynamics of Ideology and Consumerism in Steampunk Subculture". In Taddeo, Julie Anne; Miller, Cynthia J. (eds.). Steaming into a Victorian Future: A Steampunk Anthology. Scarecrow Press. ISBN   0-8108-8586-7.
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  19. "Harrisburg mad scientist: 'If you've got $250,000, I can build you a 50 foot tall robot'". Retrieved 2017-03-22.
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