Although the 19th and early 20th Centuries produced an extraordinary number of eccentric genii, Steampunk attention seems focused on only a few (Tesla, Babbage, &c.) As the editor of a site devoted to 19th Century physics, I occasionally come across historical figures who, I think, would greatly enliven the mix. One of these is Mrs. Ayrton (1854-1923) who, among other things, used solitons (!) to repel poison gas during the Great War; surely this alone ought to qualify her as a Steampunk heroine. She was also prominent in the Women's Suffrage movement, and in the opposition to antisemitism, being herself a secular Jew. She may have been the original of the emotionally complicated Jewish girl in "Daniel Deronda", and her gentile step-daughter married the Zionist Israel Zangwill, famous (or notorious) for eventually advocating a Jewish state somewhere less conflict-ridden than Palestine. I encourage everyone to find out more about her, and other figures of the period who do not yet suffer from overexposure.

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Comment by Camryn Forrest on May 21, 2013 at 6:20pm

What a wonderful find, I'll check it out.


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