Thomas Willeford

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Thomas Dean Willeford V (born October 29, 1964) is a steampunk writer, artist, and maker. He is particularly known for his work appearing on television, and for his book Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos.[1] He lives and works in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, doing business as Brute Force Studios.[1][2][3] His steampunk subculture persona, aka "steamsona", is Lord Archibald "Feathers" Featherstone.[3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

Brought up in a Victorian house with a "mad scientist" grandfather who worked for DuPont,[5][6] Willeford was educated at University of Maryland, College Park, Shenandoah University, University of Delaware, and University of Oxford.


Mechanical arm wearable sculpture made by Willeford, worn by G. D. Falksen. The same arm was worn by Fillion on Castle.

In 1988 Willeford became interested in steampunk and began working on creating pieces combining his love of engineering and art.[7] Willeford created the steampunk arm worn by Nathan Fillion in episode 3.4 of the television series Castle.[8][6][9] His work has been displayed at the University of Oxford's Museum of the History of Science,[10] at the Steampunk Bizarre Experiment,[11] the Penn State Berks Freyberger Gallery,[12] at Nemo's Steampunk Art & Invention Gallery[2] and at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation,[13][4] and has been featured in Popular Mechanics.[14] He is a contributor to Bruce Boxleitner's Lantern City[4] and was a judge on Game Show Network's Steampunk'd.[15]

Willeford was a guest curator for the Steampunk U exhibit at the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) Museum in Hershey, PA.[16]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Airship Awards 2013 – Community Contributor – Nominee
  • Balticon 19 Masquerade – Best Marvel Comic Re-Creation (Nightcrawler)
  • Balticon 20 Masquerade – Journeyman Costumer – Honorable Mention
  • Balticon 29 Masquerade – Best in Class: Novice
  • Balticon 48 Masquerade – Best in Show
  • Comic Con International 2014: Costume Contest on the Marvel Stage – One of a Kind: Iron Man 1889
  • Darkover VIII Masquerade – Best Presentation (X-Men)
  • Eeriecon Masquerade 2002 – Master Class: Best Leatherwork ("Gargoyle Knight")
  • EveCon 5 Masquerade – Most Dramatic
  • NYClone 1986 Masquerade – Chairman's Appreciation: Re-Creation
  • Philcon 50 Masquerade – Craftsman: Most Humorous
  • Rovacon 10 Masquerade – Best Comic Book Character
  • Starburner 2011 Award for Contributions to Steampunk
  • Steampunk Chronicle Readers Choice Awards 2012:[17]
    • Best Maker – Individual
    • Best Mod Weaponry for Lady Clankington's Little Death Ray
    • Best Dressed Male
    • Best Non-Goggle Accessory for Superior Replacement Arm
    • Best Costume – Individual Original for the Clockwork Girl Outfit
    • Best Non-Fiction – Nominee
  • Steampunk Chronicle Readers Choice Awards 2013:[17]
    • Best Maker – Individual – Nominee
    • Most Influential or Inspirational – Nominee
    • Steam-Hunk – Nominee
    • Steampunk Person to Watch in 2013 – Nominee
  • Technicon IV Masquerade – Best In Show
  • Unicon 84 Masquerade – Best Recreation
  • Numerous International Costumers Guild (ICG) Awards


  1. Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos: A Maker’s Guide to Creating Modern Artifacts. McGraw-Hill. October 2011. ISBN 0-07-176236-1.
  2. The Steampunk Adventurer's Guide: Contraptions, Creations, and Curiosities Anyone Can Make. McGraw-Hill. October 2013. ISBN 0-07-182780-3.



Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2010 Castle Props Steampunk Arm [18]
2010 Oddities Himself [19]
2013 Old Folks Home Himself Episode "Blow Off Some Steampunk" [20]
2015 Steampunk'd Himself As a judge [21]


  1. ^ a b Kelly, James Floyd. "Create Your Own Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos". Conde Nast. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  2. ^ a b Hornyak, Tim. "Breathing apparatus". Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  3. ^ a b Pho, Diana M. (2012-09-20). "The Dynamics of Ideology and Consumerism in Steampunk Subculture". In Taddeo, Julie Anne; Miller, Cynthia J. Steaming into a Victorian Future: A Steampunk Anthology. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-8586-7.
  4. ^ a b c "Bruce Boxleitner's Lantern City: Contributors". Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  5. ^ Strickland, Ashley (14 December 2011). "Thy fearful gadgetry: Steampunk's mad scientists". CNN. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b Hatmaker, Julia. "Steampunk in Harrisburg: Thomas Willeford is the midstate's mad scientist". Penn Live. The Patriot-News. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  7. ^ "Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos". McGraw Hill. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  8. ^ MacFarland, Joe. "Steampunk-ier than Justin Bieber". Ebay Stories. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  9. ^ Pinchefsky, Carol. "Fashion's Biggest Trend in 2013–2015 (as Predicted by IBM)? Steampunk". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  10. ^ "Steampunk: Contraptions + Devices Extraordinaire". Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  11. ^ "The 2010 Steampunk Bizarre Experiment". Steampunk Bizarre 2010. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  12. ^ "Freyberger Gallery presents STEAMpunk!". PennState. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  13. ^ "Totally Hot Artistic Opportunities". Massachusetts Cultural Council. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  14. ^ "Steampunk: Top DIY Costumes from Comic Con 2010". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  15. ^ "GSNTV / Steampunk'd / judges". Game Show Network. Retrieved 2016-10-21.
  16. ^ ""Function Goes Punk": Steampunk U Exhibit". Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  17. ^ a b "Steampunk Chronicle Readers Choice Awards 2012". Archived from the original on 2012-09-02. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
  18. ^ Lamar, Cyriaque. "Buy Nathan Fillion's steampunk cybernetic arm from Castle". io9. Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  19. ^ "Harrisburg mad scientist: 'If you've got $250,000, I can build you a 50 foot tall robot'". Retrieved 2017-03-22.
  20. ^ Watch Odd Folks Home Season 1 Episode – Amazon Video, retrieved 2017-03-22
  21. ^ "Steampunkd". Retrieved 2017-03-22.

External links[edit]