The Telecalculograph

For my very first post, it seems appropriate to talk about the device on which i’m creating it: The Telecalculograph. This is also a good example of my work and will work nicely to set the mood for this blog.

Click the picture to see the whole album 🙂


Though little is known about this odd-looking contraption, experts agree that the creation of the Telecalculograph marks a truly revolutionary achievement. High-ranked men in the fields of Mechanation, Mathematics, the Vital Sciences, and even Spiritualism have all shown marked interest in this most queer device. It can be thusly concluded that the Telecalculograph operates on such principles, however such details are being kept shrouded in the strictest manner possible. As one would expect in a situation where facts are scarce, rumors do abound. It has been stated by several anonymous persons that the bizarre, eerily-illuminated tube that festoons the machine’s facade contains something of a Magical, rather than Chemical, nature. Two well educated men of good repute have even go so far as to claim that it houses the incorporeal spirit of a deceased idiot savant! As ghastly and unbelievable as these speculations are, no explanations exist as to how a device ruled by Traditional Science could perform the tasks the Telecalculograph does with seeming ease.

While the device’s inventor, the most curious Professor William C. Ravenscroft, refuses to divulge any information about how his invention works, he speaks openly about it’s function. The eccentric gentleman claims that the Telecalculograph is a truly universal device capable of a wide variety of things that no man-made object was capable of before. Indeed many of the tasks it is said to carry out, such as displaying moving images that are controllable by the viewer, are nearly impossible to even imagine. Prof. Ravenscroft says that although the machine is slef contained in terms of its engine, it is itself virtually useless without three accompanying devices. The most necessary of these is the as-of-yet unseen “Specioscope” (presumably from the word “specious”), which displays the images produced in a manner similar to those seen with a Praxinoscope. There are also two unnamed devices that are manipulated by the user in order to control and instruct the system. One is said to closely resemble the key-board portion of a Type-Writer (in both static appearance and use), while the other seems to be a sort of wheeled telegraph key that is placed upon a table and moved about by hand. The latter controls a small arrow-head that appears on the Specioscope’s viewing glass, while the former is indeed used to enter text.

A practical use has yet to be established, however all who have been privileged to see the Telecalculograph in action agree that contrivances of this sort may indeed find their place in our world.


A few years ago, I purchased a bare-bones PC from Ebay. The internals were nice, and the case seemed pretty cool—at first. I quickly to grow tired of it’s cheesy, 1337-wannabe aesthetics; and even more so of my purely-functional mods. I wanted something new, and I wanted it to look old. While appearances were high on my list, I did not want to sacrifice any function to achieve them. This was to be my “daily driver” PC, so anything les than comfortable and easy to use, would get annoying FAST.

I was originally going to do a 1940s, Nazis-combining-science-with-magic, Hellboy-esque “electrical brain” type thing, but decided not to. With the popularity of the Wolfenstein games, this type of thing had already been done several times. Besides, the less Nazi stuff the better, right?

I soon realized that my true passion was not in the ‘40s, or even in the 1900s at all. No, steampunk was the way to go.

Thus was born the Telecalculograph.

Here’s a quick (and narrated!) video of the furnace in action:
Cost: ~$70US, not including the original PC.

Time: two months of spare time, which equates to around 50-70 man-hours.

Tools: Basic hand-tools, manual tubing cutters and benders, 25W soldering iron, butane pencil torch, Dremel w/ press station, and a 24V cordless drill.

Approx. Date of Completion: September 2006

Published in: on January 23, 2007 at 6:13 am  Comments (23)  

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23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve been a big fan of the telecalculograph – in particular the furnace has my admiration. More things should have furnaces in them!

  2. Very nice build. I love this kind of thing.

  3. Thanks folks!

    PS: The embedded videos are working now–sorry ’bout that! Silly HTML…

  4. I love the furnace LEDs idea. That was a clever detail. Good stuff!

  5. […] of the IEEE held a “Hacks/Mods/Gadgets” contest a while ago, in which I entered the Telecalulograph and Vitorio-Nixie Tube. By sort of winning (there were only two other entries), I was awarded the […]

  6. I work in a steam plant (nuclear fueled, though) and in these plants there definitely is a feedback mechanism with the steam plant. The more steam demand you have on the turbines, the more nuclear fuel you burn – with absolutely no operator action.

  7. […] the eccentric Professor William C. Ravenscroft remains stingy on details of his “Telecalculograph“, he has recently allowed photography of the device with which its user controls it. These […]

  8. […] Jake of all Trades, autor del ratón, nos confirma que también ha construido la torre… y es una […]

  9. I’m new to steampunk and was wondering how to go about getting a reputable “steampunk artist” to consider modding my leg brace, as I had a stroke, now with a slight limp and I would love to have people look at my piece of art than the boring brace.
    Thank you.

  10. […] de su agrado y les dejarán con la boca abierta. Comenzamos nuestra adandura con esta magnífica torre para computadora que, gracias al milagro de la electricidad, consigue procesar datos a una […]

  11. […] un color: Negro. (que no es un color) Si fuera una ciudad o estado: París. Si fuera un invento: Una cpu retro. Si fuera una película: Orgullo y Prejuicio. Si fuera un actor/actriz: Keira Knightley ; Natalie […]

  12. […] Vía:Original […]

  13. For ultimate win, add a water cooling system and incorporate it into the steampunk aesthetic (brass tubes for coolant, etc.)

  14. Could you please give more information about how to build something like that / how you did it ??? i love this thin so much

  15. U r a genius!

  16. I could eat that with my eyes all day long.

    You might like,

  17. Impressive work! I especially love the function hidden in the furnace. Doing my own mod, I started with the monitor because it was easiest. My thinking was that by the time I get to the PC case I’d know better what I’m doing. 🙂 Here’s a shot of the monitor that you all might enjoy. Mike

  18. The on-off switch? How was it made or acquired?

  19. […] the blog you can find detailed pictures of how it works.  The Bug was designed to complement the Telecalculograph, a mysterious project that Jake tells us is being developed by the eccentric Professor William C. […]

  20. […] Source / Source […]

  21. […] combination. And yes, that Saw-looking mouse in the bottom picture does actually work.Source / Source6. USS Salem Steampunk Command PhoneThe USS Salem (CA139) was the first boat of its kind to […]

  22. Reblogueó esto en y comentado:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  23. […] Jake of all Trades, autor del ratón, nos confirma que también ha construido la torre…. y es una verdadera preciosidad. Aquí la tenéis: […]

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