AHC: An actual Wild Wild West

Basically The Wild Wild West was a popular television series that ran from 1965 to 69, taking place nearly a century in the past during the Grant Administration. Following the exploits of the Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon as they traveled across the west, often encountering technology far ahead of their time. Noticeably a few decades later two other television series would appear in the 90's with similar premises Legend featuring Richard Dean Anderson (which also took place during the Grant Administration) and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. featuring Bruce Campbell. Alongside a certain film adaptation that shall not be named, all of which featured advanced even borderline sci-fi technology in the age of the American Wild West.

Now the question is how could we believably see a real life version of the Wild Wild West taking place during the later decades of the 19th century?
 
I suppose we can look into what fancy spy gadgets actually existed in those days, and think of why people would invent even fancier spy gadgets for government agents. I suspect they would largely be used to infiltrate the KKK.
 
Dirigible gandy dancers- some fellows who read too many dime novels and chug too much sarsparilla build small light canvas cars with bamboo wheels to fit the company tracks, add a tubular balloon filled with hot air over the car, and gandy-dance up to crazy speeds between the company trains. Sometimes taking flight, always delivering dynamite, whale oiled condoms, loco weed laudanum, the secret files of John Hohman, and Colonel Ingersol's blasphemies a step ahead of the Pinkertons.

Also, semi-sentient condors.
 
@MacCaulay’s idea of punch card programmed lathes in 1807 seems like the easiest/fastest way to get the Wild Wild West steampunk vibe you want. A few extra decades of industrialization and perhaps mechanical computers circa 1840s and you could have a gosh darn stew of whacky engineering/inventor focused societies—just what you want for a crazy to build a steam powered spider.
 
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Why do they always bring up the spider?
@MacCaulay’s idea of punch card programmed lathes in 1807 seems like the easiest/fastest way to get the Wild Wild West steampunk vibe you want. A few extra decades of industrialization and perhaps mechanical computers circa 1840s and you could have a gosh darn stew of whacky engineering/inventor focused societies—just what you want for a crazy to build a steam powered spider.
Perhaps this also led to a slightly earlier development of the bessemer process that led to the earlier mass production of steel and thus superior steam engines.
 
Basically The Wild Wild West was a popular television series that ran from 1965 to 69, taking place nearly a century in the past during the Grant Administration. Following the exploits of the Secret Service agents James West and Artemus Gordon as they traveled across the west, often encountering technology far ahead of their time. Noticeably a few decades later two other television series would appear in the 90's with similar premises Legend featuring Richard Dean Anderson (which also took place during the Grant Administration) and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. featuring Bruce Campbell. Alongside a certain film adaptation that shall not be named, all of which featured advanced even borderline sci-fi technology in the age of the American Wild West.

Now the question is how could we believably see a real life version of the Wild Wild West taking place during the later decades of the 19th century?
Balloon outlaws raiding trains ? Maybe Balloon warfare during ACW more advanced lead to actual mass production and combative battles between Yankee and Rebel balloons. Than Confederate insurgents resume raiding from remote safe places. These Confderates become outlaws with other outlaws using balloons. Law enforcements and vigilanties also use balloons. Cattle barons battle eaxh other with privat balloon forces.
 
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Balloon outlaws raiding trains ? Maybe Balloon warfare during ACW more advanced lead to actual mass production and combative battles between Yankee and Rebel balloons. Than Confederate insurgents resume raiding from remote safe places. These Confderates become outlaws with other outlaws using balloons. Law enforcwmwnts and vigilanties also use balloons. Cattle barons battle eaxh other with privat balloon forces.
All through the nineteenth century people kept trying to design a directionable or dirigible balloon, and when Graf Zeppelin finally managed it in the twentieth they cost a lot and were vulnerable to storms. Using a balloon to lighten a load is cinematic but not, I think, ASB. Using John Ericsson's caloric engine (hotairengines.org/closed-cycle-engine/ericsson-1833/caloric-engine) in an all-fabric version that doubles as a directionable hot air balloon probably gets you a fireball, without asbestos. There was a boom in asbestos use in the 1870's- (https://www.asbestos.com/asbestos/history/) -but asbestos is heavy.
 
How about steam powered motorcycles or motor carriages?
Balloon outlaws raiding trains ? Maybe Balloon warfare during ACW more advanced lead to actual mass production and combative battles between Yankee and Rebel balloons. Than Confederate insurgents resume raiding from remote safe places. These Confderates become outlaws with other outlaws using balloons. Law enforcwmwnts and vigilanties also use balloons. Cattle barons battle eaxh other with privat balloon forces.
Expanding on the civil war angle several different machine gun were developed during the war so perhaps they ended up in widespread use by both sides.
 
I of course love this idea... but how to implement it?
It occurred to me this AM, that since the original WWW was inspired by the spy movies and espionage shows that were al the rage in the 1960's that a timeline that sort of duplicates the state of the world in the 1960's could provide the backdrop - a 19th-Century Cold War.
I haaaate to propose yet another Alt-ACW, but suppose the war drags on for longer (leading to faster tech innovation as each side tries to one-up the other), but ends in a negotiated stalemate - no war, no peace. The pace of technological innovation continues, with plenty of wacky steam, electric, pneumatic gadgets and contraptions, beginning in secret weapons programmes but eventually finding their way into civilian use as well. Spies and saboteurs would be sitting drinking in every saloon, as the shadow of a steam-powered dirigible passing overhead darkens the room from time to time :)
Going continent-wide, maybe Emperor Max hangs on to the Mexican throne, and "pulls a Meiji" - turning Mexico into an industrial and technological powerhouse, with plots, plans, and schemes - and innovations - of their own. European expats - mad scientists and inventors - flock to the Americas, where the resources are freely made available to them to pursue innovations thought insane by the more stodgy European establishment.
Throw in a few further secessionist movements or alternately irredentist movements, and the usual assortment of criminals simply seeking to enrich themselves, or conquer the world, all of whom would of course want access to the latest gadgets, or develop new ones. (A 19th Century SPECTRE or THRUSH would be fun :)) .
The possibilities are limitless...
 
I of course love this idea... but how to implement it?
It occurred to me this AM, that since the original WWW was inspired by the spy movies and espionage shows that were al the rage in the 1960's that a timeline that sort of duplicates the state of the world in the 1960's could provide the backdrop - a 19th-Century Cold War.
I haaaate to propose yet another Alt-ACW, but suppose the war drags on for longer (leading to faster tech innovation as each side tries to one-up the other), but ends in a negotiated stalemate - no war, no peace. The pace of technological innovation continues, with plenty of wacky steam, electric, pneumatic gadgets and contraptions, beginning in secret weapons programmes but eventually finding their way into civilian use as well. Spies and saboteurs would be sitting drinking in every saloon, as the shadow of a steam-powered dirigible passing overhead darkens the room from time to time :)
Going continent-wide, maybe Emperor Max hangs on to the Mexican throne, and "pulls a Meiji" - turning Mexico into an industrial and technological powerhouse, with plots, plans, and schemes - and innovations - of their own. European expats - mad scientists and inventors - flock to the Americas, where the resources are freely made available to them to pursue innovations thought insane by the more stodgy European establishment.
Throw in a few further secessionist movements or alternately irredentist movements, and the usual assortment of criminals simply seeking to enrich themselves, or conquer the world, all of whom would of course want access to the latest gadgets, or develop new ones. (A 19th Century SPECTRE or THRUSH would be fun :)) .
The possibilities are limitless...
Brilliant!!!


I'd also like to point out the 1995 tv series Legend featuring Richard Dean Anderson and John de Lance that also had quite a bit of steampunk.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legend_(TV_series)https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Legend
 
Going continent-wide, maybe Emperor Max hangs on to the Mexican throne, and "pulls a Meiji" - turning Mexico into an industrial and technological powerhouse, with plots, plans, and schemes - and innovations - of their own.
"Mad" Maximilian, traveling in his golden steam carriage, is ambushed by Benito Juarez and his motorcycle gang the Cazacarrateras ("road warriors") ...

[ two strangers come upon him dying in the wrecked carriage: he begs for water and starts to tell them of a vast cache of gold buried in a cemetery... ]
 
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Checkpoint Charlie on the Potomac, the great North American dreadnought race, an early version of the dreadful British K-Boat steam submarines... silent-but-deadly pneumatic cannon/dynamite guns... steam "war-wagons"... in the civilian field, maybe pneumatic-tube trains in areas where traditional rail construction is too difficult... earlier development of vaccuum tube and CRT technology would have some interesting implications... all kinds of things could be worked into this, not to mention the political and social implications of a North American Cold War... and not all of it ASB, strictly speaking - since most of the technology was already there, just in its infancy and in bits-n-pieces...
Dammit now I have the "Mission: Impossible" theme in my head :p
 
"I call it a 'shoe phone' -- from the Greek phonos, or sound -- you can talk to whoever is wearing the other pair, from hundreds of miles away!"

"Okay, Professor, but it's the size and weight of a footlocker, I can't walk in these."
 
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"I call it a 'shoe phone' -- from the Greek phonos, or sound -- you can talk to whoever is wearing the other shoe, from hundreds of miles away!"

"Okay, Professor, but it's the size and weight of a footlocker, I can't walk in these."
Dammit now I've got the "Get Smart" theme in my head! :p
 
Yeah, there's too many TL's where Mexico is turned into a punching bag for the USA or CSA... The thought of Emperor Max turning Mexico into sort of a "Festung Mexicana" makes me smile :D
 
"Listen out here in the America's you got the Union, Confederates, Texans and Mexicans all just waiting to tear each other apart under their little cloak & dagger games."

"So just like back in Europe."
 
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