Parker Steam Synth
If synth rock was meant to go hand-in-hand with fantastic steampunk universes (and we really can't see why it wasn't), instruments would look something like the thing you see here. This is the Parker Steam Synthesizer, a steam-powered music synth that runs on water and some coal. Designer Lorin Edwin Parker controls steam pressure with a ball valve which activates a dynamo. The dynamo is a magnet motor attached to a flywheel that creates an alternating magnetic field which is then turned into electricity by an inductive pickup. That pickup is finally plugged into an amp and you have some trippy electro from a device that could have been around years ago. He says it will run for about 20 minutes on one tank of water, which, in our estimation, is just long enough for Bjork to hear it and add to her band's already-insane inventory. By the way, the Read link includes a .mov file so you can see this thing in action.

[Via MusicRadar]