Steampunk in Oxford!

This entry is part 6 of 12 in the series Meanwhile..

Whooo! The Amaaaaazing Steampunk Exhibit at the Museum of the History of Science is now open! Behold (good thing I went for the 600dpi..):

There’s 3, count ’em, 3! ways to see the comic.

1.The best way to see the comic online is at, the Sci Fi Supersite!  which has kindly up it up in a way that you can, like, actually see it clearly.


2. Also, until Saturday, you can download the print resolution here (it’s 600dpi, so seriously, they’re big files).  Get it while it’s hot!  I was going to keep it up there, but that turns out to be expensive..

3. Last but not least!  you can download the PDF of the Broadsheet from the Museum (link at the bottom), which includes the comic in the context for which it was drawn and also comes with beautiful photographs of the exhibits.

With all these viewing options, surely we need a gadget to go with this.  Here at 2D Goggles we like to keep up with the very latest technology, and we hear there is a great deal of excitement over the ‘3D experience’. I fail to see the thrill of this, as our mundane existence is already carried out in 3 dimensions. If you really want a Journey Into the Unknown-

KIDS! INSTANT 2D VISION with our exclusive 2D cut-out-and-keep FLATTENING GOGGLES!!* Enter a world you have NEVER SEEN! Requires no steam power!  Click to download the PDF! (hirez tiff available at until Saturday)


Merely fold down the Dimensional Occluder for INCREDIBLE 2D EFFECT! You won’t believe your eye!


Cheers to old war-buddy Duncan, who suggested, “how about a pair of cut-out-and-keep 2d goggles?”

A few footnotes on the comic..

— In her early teens Ada had an obsession with flying machines, her ambition at 13 being to produce a ‘book of Flyology, illustrated with Plates’. She always loved machines– the first thing she did when she saw the Difference Engine when she was 17, was ask Babbage if she could borrow the diagrams to study!

– My bouncing-off point for the comic (other than just basically cramming as many steampunk tropes into two pages as I could), was Babbage’s reaction the the not-very-prominent placing of the Difference Engine prototype in the Exhibition of 1862:

This is UNCANNILY similar to the way the same fragments of the Engine are normally displayed in the MHS, and I would like to take this opportunity to suggest how much the Old Ashmolean would be Ennobled by the building of a separate wing for their proper display, along with the 800 square feet of diagrams.

By the way, my exhaustive searches of Punch have failed turn up an undisputed Babbage caricature, but this just might possibly be him! Babbage was pretty mad that the Difference Engine wasn’t displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and it does bear some resemblance to this portrait.

Brunel’s sextant and bits of Babbage’s engine can indeed be seen in MHS’s Steampunk Exhibit, or any old time you happen to be in Oxford.

Anyways, thanks so much to the AWESOME curators at the Museum of the History of Science, hope to meet again soon!

After all this visual, if you’d like a little audio:  BBC coverage of the Exhibit! And, my Better Half interviews super-cool Museum Director Jim Bennett! With cute accents!

*’2D effect’ is illusory; ink and paper contain some microns of depth.E

Series NavigationBack to the Previous Gripping Episode!Next Thrilling Installment!


  1. Kev on August 27, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    The goggles are awesome but both ear pieces are for the same side…

  2. SomthingWithGears on July 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

    It’s because of the exhibition that I “discovered” your comics. Which is why it took two years for me to actually find your website :P

  3. Gaby on February 21, 2011 at 5:21 am

    Hey, guess what? I think I’m the only kid on the website. Since you need to think to understand, and at least have a vague understanding of Ada Lovelace, most 12 year olds wouldn’t be here. I’m unique! Anyways, this is really cool! I didn’t realize that Babbage hated music that much, and the 2D goggles are really cool. For the sake of children, continue.

  4. Lo Fat Mo on December 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Was rereading your site yesterday when what should come on the radio but a report that Charles Babbage’s difference engine (or one of the prototypes anyway) is currently on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California – not two miles or so from where I work! OBviously I now have to go see it (with a slightly different eye of course).

    Thanks for putting together this great comic, and keep it up, you’re inspiring all us hard working nerds to love our collective pasts.

  5. Smallpotato on October 25, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Your art in display in a museum!! You must be so proud! Heck, I’m proud of you!

  6. Art Donovan on October 24, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Dear Sydney!

    Your work is fantastic and so very endearing. (Did I forget to mention how perfectly cool your art for the Oxford Museum looked on display?) Best of luck to you, as you are as amazing talent. Warm Regards and it was wonderful to meet you at the Steampunk Museum Opening. Art Donovan

  7. Mark on October 22, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I weep at the distance from here to Oxford. (And notice a certain resemblence in the nose and jawline between the Countess and our host.)

  8. Anon, a Mouse on October 20, 2009 at 4:14 am

    CONGRATULATIONS!! Oh, to see the exhibition in person!! Thank you for the links. The interviews, the issue of Broadsheet and your comic are bridging the ocean.

    Your comic is wonderful fun, from the old illustrations of flying machines to Brunel’s cameo (“what a guy”) and the dialog. It’s not one of the best lines in this episode, but I plan to shout “Out of the way, mathematicians!” at my brother this Christmas dinner…

  9. RoseRed on October 19, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Cheers on your newest installment of Lovelace and Babbage! You are now my second favorite comic with only The Desert Peach beating you out for first place (sorry, somebody has to be first and a silver medal ain’t too bad. *grins*) I eagerly await future episodes, especially the one about vampires defeated by statistics. So—-slay your Giant Monsters already and hop to it! *taps foot impatiently*

  10. Antonia on October 19, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    The Museum of the History of Science would certainly welcome any donations towards a higher profile display space and better curatorial and conservation facilities for the Difference Engine and many other important artefacts. 800 square feet of diagrams is something of a tall order for the current site, where potential for expansion is very limited.

  11. Douglas on October 18, 2009 at 1:59 am

    Congratulations on the Exhibition! I also want to say how much I’ve enjoyed this comic! I’m looking forward to seeing future amazing episodes!

    And, good choice of vendor for your store items. I ordered my Crime-Fighting Coffee Mug, at a bit past midnight here in central California USA, and received it ( completely intact! ) at my door only a day-and-a-half later… incredible!

  12. Ceridwen on October 15, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Yup, the accents were cute. :D

  13. Roberto Keller on October 15, 2009 at 11:26 am

    HELP! HELP!! Science has created a disaster! Only science can save us now!!

    This is such a marvelous quote.

  14. Ted on October 15, 2009 at 3:37 am

    Thanks for all the PDF presents. I shall be printing at work and wasting all the paper. Always a pleasure to see a post here and after checking more than twice a day its an event when something finally comes up.

    Hope you had a chance to read some Hark! A Vagrant comics of which the link i sent you. I figured you could relate historically and get a laugh.


  15. John on October 14, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I simply must know how these googles work! How do they know enough to turn on when I’m looking at paper or a screen, for example, but not when I’m looking at my cat!?

    Heh. Reminds me of the time my mother tried to convince me to buy a flatscreen TV because “everything looks 3-D.”

    Anyway, congratulations. While I realize the overlapping populations between Babbage experts and storytelling illustrators is probably a bit small, they couldn’t have made a better choice than including your work.

    Oh, and Li’l Ada wanting a flying machine is very charming, of course.

    • sydney on October 14, 2009 at 6:41 pm

      Cats actually exist in four dimensions, so the goggles will not work properly with them.