A Jetpack from the Real-Life Days of Steampunk

Getting to the California gold fields after the discovery of the precious metal at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 wasn’t easy—by land or by sea. That's where this satiric 1849 print from Currier and Ives comes from. It's called "The Way They Go to California," and tweaks the ore-crazed “Forty-Niners” who rushed to claim a stake and prospect for gold. Currier and Ives depicted the 49ers taking some alternate forms of transportation to California . . . like a personal rocket, which you see in the upper right. Click through for a closer look at what, a century later, would no doubt have been a jetpack.

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