Steampunk is based on Victorian design melded with modern technology. The concept of steampunk is really nothing new, even though the term Steampunk emerged in the last 20 years or so with the inventiveness of the movies Wild West and TV shows like Dr. Who. The art that has come out of the last 20 years that bring together the old with the new is astounding.
Victorians loved to conceive what might happen in the future, and they imagined great flying machines and newfangled technologies in terms they would be able to understand. In the mid-1800s, steam power, internal combustion engines, and electric power meant that anything was possible. The world was modern, and new technology was imagined. What would a future world look like to the average Victorian? An amazing magician's bag full of personal flying machines and gadgets with levers, buttons, and pulleys.
Steampunk melds the Victorian time lines with future inventions. Back then, those inventions were things like Jules Verne's submarines, and H.G. Wells' time machine.
Our image below is based on an antique postcard that was originally created in the late 1800s - showing people flying in Victorian-looking flying cars and flying dirigibles.