Volunteers wanted for Aetheric Message Machine Company at Clockwork Alchemy 2014

Started by aetherltd, March 11, 2014, 11:45:49 AM

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The Aetheric Message Machine Company will have a steampunk Telegraph Office at Clockwork Alchemy again in 2014. We're looking for two to four reliable people per shift to work in the Telegraph Office at the event. Steampunk cosplayers especially!

Anyone at the convention can send a telegram for free by texting from a cell phone. The messages are printed on antique printing telegraph equipment, stamped, sorted, put in envelopes, and delivered around the con by messengers.  We did this at the last three Nova Albion events, Clockwork Alchemy 2012 and 2013, and once at Maker Faire.

We have two jobs:

Operator: Works in the Telegraph Office and handles incoming messages from our brass and glass Aetheric Message Machine. Requires some typing and office skills.  You'll be in a highly visible location, a glass-fronted office facing the main corridor to the ballrooms at the Doubletree. Expect to be photographed and interviewed. About half an hour of training is required.

Messenger: Runs around the con delivering messages. Requires energy and a good voice. "Telegram for ..." You'll be on your feet a lot.

This is a fun job to do in steampunk costume.  You're handling real messages, using real antique machines, and do it in character. It gets busy, with the machines typing out messages and messengers running in and out.  We'll be operating for the same hours that the vendor room is open, Friday through Sunday.

The Telegraph Office at Clockwork Alchemy 2012
(Do come in and visit. We make our office look like a real telegraph office. It looked so official at the first Clockwork Alchemy that some people thought they weren't supposed to come in. We made it more inviting last year. Come in and take a close look at the machines.)

See our web site: http://www.aetherltd.com
Here's a video of the Telegraph Office in full operation at Nova Albion.
Our training manual for operators.
Contact us at [email protected] or leave a message here.
Each job comes with a hat - choice of the cap shown above or a green eyeshade. And a brass badge.
The volunteer refund deal is the same as for other Fanime volunteers, and will be coordinated through the volunteer office.

The Aetheric Message Machine Company, Ltd. - bringing text messaging to the 19th century.


We're testing the machines today.  If you text to 650-209-7783, with a text of the form

    INFO@TELEGRAPH : your message

it will print here.  I'll post pictures of any interesting messages, as printed on the machine. (We'll blur out your cell number before posting.) Send some good steampunk messages. Thanks.

(We still need more volunteer messengers for Clockwork Alchemy.)


My friend was interested in being an operator but I kept forgetting to send her this link. Are you still taking operators? (She also might be willing to take a turn as both a messenger and an operator, she is very active/athletic so I don't think running around the con for a bit would be a problem).
I sell cute and geeky polymer clay jewelry!


"Failure is always an option"
"Try again, fail again, fail better"
"Art is never finished, only abandoned"


Yes, we're still looking for both operators and messengers. The more people we have, the easier it is. Send to "[email protected]".

Testing the big machine today and tomorrow. Text to 650-209-7783, with a text of the form
INFO@TELEGRAPH : your message
Send some fun steampunk messages. I'll post pictures here of the best messages, as printed on the machine. We posted some on the Clockwork Alchemy Facebook page yesterday. We'll keep the machine turned on through Tuesday night.

It was just cleaned, greased, and oiled. This is real steam-era machinery, so after servicing, we test it for a day or two. It's open for messages right now through tomorrow, so go for it! Thanks.


Learn to run this machine!  Acquire a totally obsolete job skill for your resume!

We could use another operator or two. It takes about half an hour of training. If interested, PM me here, or email to "[email protected]".

The messages come in from con members' cell phones and are printed automatically. You don't have to retype them. There was a misunderstanding about this - some people thought they had to retype incoming texts from cell phones, using an old typewriter. No, it's all done automatically. The machine types by itself! 

Dickens and Ren Faire people encouraged. If you can do this job in character, you're welcome to do so. We don't insist on that, but if you want to, go for it.


Thanks to the cosplayers who volunteered for the Telegraph Office, we had a working, fully staffed steampunk telegraph office in full operation.

Telegraph Operators at Work (2 minute video)

Three days of running messengers, clattering machinery, and ringing bells, with several hundred messages delivered. Thanks, everybody!