Steampunk laboratory - Wunderkammer
The wunderkammer translates from German into cabinet of curiosity. From Wikipedia:
Cabinets of curiosities (also known as Wunderkammer, Cabinets of Wonder, or wonder-rooms) were encyclopedic collections of types of objects whose categorical boundaries were, in Renaissance Europe, yet to be defined. Modern terminology would categorize the objects included as belonging to natural history (sometimes faked), geology, ethnography, archaeology, religious or historical relics, works of art (including cabinet paintings) and antiquities.
Naturally, if I'm going to have a laboratory, I'm going to need a few display cases of curios and science.
The first requirement was getting a good, sturdy cabinet that had glass windows around most edges to get the look down. IKEA, great option for Steampunkers, didn't have anything that matched my requirements. Neither did any of the normal stores I frequented to find furniture. After dinner one night, not thinking anything steampunk, Jos took me to a Samsara store in Milton. They specialize in islandy sorts of furniture, but to my surprise they had a fantastic cabinet available. Angular, with a solid back, solid shelves, and window panels on three of the four sides. Tall enough to be imposing, but with large shelves that 'stuff' can collect on. Nice.
The top shelf is a bit high for some people so that one is devoted to glassware storage, with the more interesting glasses I own stacked around the sides. This includes the two Vodka shot-glass bowls I purchased from Freedom - they look like test tubes in a bowl.
The second shelf is a good height for science, I received a birthday gift a while ago which had science-in-a-box. The box was filled with wood shavings and bottles/ jars that had been converted into pseudo-science. Little toys in odd-colored fluid, as well as painted rocks in jars labeled "upsidaisium", "innertron" (filled with black dust), "faerie dustrose" (glitter). They're laid out so you have to walk around the cabinet to see everything.
The third shelf is my favorite. A friend gifted me a plastic skull (minus the top of its head) from a magazine they bought. The jaw was mobile, but the dirty great hole where the skull-cap should be was an issue. Or was it? A fish bowl was just the right size for the skull to fit in, so now I have a skull in a bowl. Not that thrilling. From Bunnings I bought some water crystals — these crystals start off like rock salt but they absorb water like the dickens, and swell to a larger size. Filling the bowl with those results in a very murky view of the bottom of the skull, and the top of the bowl is covered with what looks like ice. Very moody. But not enough; going to JayCar netted me some computer-insert UV fluorescent tubes. Those were hidden inside the door so you couldn't see them when the door was shut, a hole was drilled in the back of the cabinet, and some glow-in-the-dark cables were blutacked to the bottom of the above shelf and a tiny brain was put into the skull under the ice. Now we're talking science.
The bottom shelf is currently storage for some cases/ prototype devices, but there is a plan to make a destroyed Lilliput village there along with a mechanical spider hiding in under the above shelf surrounded by steel-web covered tiny creatures. And a sign saying "Send More".