Would you wear and use a vintage pocket watch?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Splendid Steam Sculpture: The Infernal Device

In 2011, I had heard a bit about the sculpture called "The Infernal Device."  After reading information from several sources, I found out that an incredible amount of work (and tears) went into the creation of this massive steampunk-inspired piece.

Sketch of the Infernal Device's many parts

The sculpture was an entry in the 2011 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the largest open-entry fine art competition in the country.  ArtPrize includes thousands of entries each year, scattered throughout the city.  It did not win, but had many admirers, as seen in this photo gallery containing hundreds of pictures of the process, the parts, construction, and more.

The Infernal Device at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum 2011

"The Infernal Device is a large mechanical animated sculpture being built by steampunk/retrofuturist artist Myke Amend, Nan and David Braun of Cogbots, and steam-machine modeler Todd Cahill as a collaborative entry for Artprize (the country’s largest open entry art competition, 
held in Grand Rapids MI).  Our intent is to build a dynamic sculpture using 90% Vintage, Re-purposed materials that will be powered entirely by alternative energy sources (wind, solar, steam)."

Video of Infernal Device Collaborator Todd Cahill and some of his other work, including steam engines.

You may read about some of the challenges that the team faced and apparently overcame, as posted over the months on their Kickstarter page.  I am glad that the sculpture was finished, even if it did not win that particular competition; perhaps it will make an appearance at steampunk venues in the future.

(Seen this work of art in person, or know where it might be seen in the future? Please leave a comment and let me know.)


  1. Lovely machines. It's nice to see engineering treated as art and the swirling hypnotizer is a joy! Thank you for posting. I love your blog;I'm about to go and read your post on how to age brass. I need to patinate a pair of cheap brassy bolts for a door.

  2. Thank you very much! I am very glad that I can draw attention to the wonderful things people have created. Just let me know if you need to pick my brain further when you age your bolts.



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