Tilley, the Steampunk Trailer. (And you thought a Bo(w)ler was just a hat!)
Created by countessalenora on 10/17/2011 7:56:28 PM

Special Correspondent, Lee Ann Farruga aka Countessa Lenora of Steampunk Canada, shares her and her husband's ongoing project, to repair and remodel a vintage Boler trailer into a steampunk haven on wheels.

Last year was my 20th wedding anniversary.  My husband, Patrick, and I were trying to decide what special thing to do to celebrate.  We contemplated a trip, gifts for each other, and even nothing at all.  One thing that kept coming up again and again was something we had been thinking about for some time – buying a trailer.  To be more specific, a Boler trailer.  A Boler is a small, egg shaped fibreglass trailer.  It is also a Canadian invention and made in Canada.  The inventor, Ray Olecko, called it a boler because it reminded him of a bowler hat. Tilley, just purchased

On March 25, 2010 we found our dream trailer, and luckily close to where we live, and brought her home.  She is a 1976 model and she came with a lot of work to be done, which was fine by us because we had plans for her.  We didn't just want any old trailer, we wanted a steampunk oasis for two!


We decided to do the interior to look like a Victorian gentlemen's club.  We also decided to give her a name, but it had to relate to our steampunk/gentlemen's club theme.  After doing some research on various clubs of the period I found the perfect name.  It embodied a number of qualities I admire.  

Ms. Powles and Vesta Tilley

 These qualities belonged to the only woman allowed into the The Eccentric Club, Matilda Alice Powles.  The reason she was an “unofficial” member was that she would go dressed as her stage persona – a man.  Her stage name was Vesta Tilley –  an absolutely perfect name (including her history) for our steampunk trailer.  



The first thing that needed to be done was to rip out the whole interior of peeling upholstery and insulation and replace it.  Not a job we could do, so we passed it to our friend and upholstery guru Brad McDonald.  He made the interior look exactly as we had wanted – a warm, rich, gentlemen's club. He even added a little special Canadian steampunk touch.  

 Canadian Pride

Since Tilley is a work in progress we decided that each year we would do a little more in the way of improvements.  Last year was the insulation and upholstery, this year Patrick redid the electrical work and added 12V battery system so that we are now power self-sufficent. We also added new steampunk lighting. Next step is to set the system up with solar panelling.


Lucky for my husband, I am not of a frilly persuasion, and so for decoration we are slowly adding items to the interior that are keeping to an explorer gentelemen's club, including various weather gauges, art, trims and gadgets.  As any proper gentlemen's club would be luxurious and quite posh, we are also ensuring that each piece of cutlery, dish, bedding and general comfort is up to snuff.


You can find out more about Tilley, see many more photos, and read our adventure (so far) of turning her into a dream steampunk travel companion at our blog Victorian Bo(w)ler.



Special Correspondent, Lee Ann Farruga is better know as Countessa Lenora, the Canadian Queen of Steampunk and founder of Steampunk Canada. You can follow her at Twitter - CountessaLenora



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