On Friday, Syfy announced that Warehouse 13 will be endings its run after a 6-episode fifth season to air in 2014. The show is centered on the eponymous warehouse in which the government stores all manner of mystical, mysterious, or supernatural object they’ve come across. The agents charged with finding and collecting these objects encounter myriad challenges along the way, whether from the objects themselves, others who want to possess them, or even local law enforcement. Helping them are a number of technological gizmos, many of which have a distinctly retrofuturistic, if not entirely Steampunk, design (which is why we here at Steampunk.com are mourning the loss of this show).
A statement from Mark Sten, Syfy’s President, Original Content read: â€œWarehouse 13 has been an incredible signature series for us. We are grateful to the loyal and passionate fan base and know that Jack Kenny, his gifted creative team, and outstanding ensemble cast will give them an amazing finale season.â€
If you haven’t seen it, you really should give it a chance. The first three seasons are available on Netflix or Amazon.com streaming video (free if you’re a prime member). Or if you’re into owning plastic circles, you can buy them on DVD or Blu-ray.
Below are a few of the more Steampunk elements the agents encountered in their first four seasons. For a longer list of artifacts in the warehouse, see the Warehouse 13 wikia.
Agents of the Warehouse can’t just use cell phones like everyone else. That wouldn’t be secure, after all. Instead, they have wonderfully Steampunk communicators designed by Philo Farnsworth himself. (Farnsworth built the first working television in 1927 at the age of 21, after figuring out the priciples of it at age 14! But in school we all learn about Edison instead.) Several other fictional Farnsworth inventions have appeared over the last four years as well.
If normal phones won’t do for the agents, do you think they can get by with normal weapons? Of course not. They go into the field armed with Tesla guns. Yes, they were designed by Nikola Tesla, with some help from his not-in-our-universe apprentice H.G. Wells (more on Wells below). These are electric and non-lethal, sort of a Steampunk taser.
Artifact Tracker Football
The agents of the warehouse need to have a way to find the bizarre artifacts and that’s where this football comes in. Any time it is around an active artifact, it lets the warehouse computer know about it. And how do you get it near a lot of artifacts? You close it up so it looks like a normal football and throw it around the world. Yes, when thrown this ball really takes off and can go literally around the world.
Agent Artie Nielsen is the agent in charge of Warehouse 13 and, like anyone is charge of something vast, he uses a computer to keep track of it all. And Artie’s computer isn’t your typical Dell black box. The exact origins of the computer’s unique design has yet to be fully explained on the show, but in the real world, it was build for the production by Richard Nagy, aka Datamancer. If you want your own, check out his site at Datamancer.net.
Telegraph from Oman
How about a haunted telegraph? Actually, it isn’t so much haunted as it just drives anyone who taps it insane. Imagine the sound of a telegraph getting stuck in your head and slowly taking over your mind. That’s this artifact in a nutshell. It highs from Telegraph Island in the mideast, where the British had an outpost until the 1860s when every soldier there lost their mind. Not all the gadgets in the warehouse are pleasant.
H.G. Wells’ Time Machine
Outside of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus, it is hard to think of a more iconic Steampunk creation, and it too is in the warehouse. Well, kind of. In the world of Warehouse 13, H.G. Wells is still a Victorian writer, but she is Helena G. Wells, and she is now an agent of the warehouse, having been preserved in bronze for most of a century. And the time machine isn’t quite the same either. Instead of travelling physically in time, the user can inhabit the mind of someone in the past. Still, cool technology invented by one of the founding fathers, er, mothers of Steampunk literature.