The ancients who founded Geargrind City had carved the natural crystalline ground into a polished, glassy surface but it was later generations of engineers who had installed the unground clock which was centered at the town hall in the middle of the city and every minute the gargantuan second hand could be seen 6 centimeters under the crystal ground.
Black grease clouds rained clear water and cooled the fiery engines that ran the outpost town. Their world was the size of our Jupiter and entire civilizations grew and died unknown to each other.
Garamond West, a chemist from the post-steam era, made use of helium and bulky steam fan powered blimps to send groups to explore the hard volcanic landscape which held pools of sweet smelling thick sludge which would later be used to fuel gas engines of the future.
Currency was crafted from polished gems that were mined in the volcanic plains. A family or group of fortune seekers sponsored by a wealthy patrician might venture out into the volcanic plains to mine for unrefined minerals to bring back in steel caskets and be officially stamped by the Office of Pecuniary Interests. Banks were vast structures traditionally carved into solid rock and supported by thick gold gilded arches.
Cities communicated by worm tubes, an invention of the post steam period whereby a silver chemical would be mixed with a red powder in a glass compression device. The hollow metal cable lines were strung through the wilderness and connected cities. The chemical reaction created a static pressure cloud which could be interpreted by a pressure machine on the other end. The signals traveled fast at about 25 kilometers per hour but were haphazard and expensive because the mechanical relay stations had to be positioned every few kilometers in order to recreate the static cloud which degenerated over long distances.
Because civilized towns were often settled on large flat crystalline surfaces that used to be red and white seas of heavy gases, water and waste plumbing were transported through an infrastructure of black ceramic and purple painted copper straps set above ground. Poor neighborhoods would use these massive tubes as a prop to build a small shanty house. Wealthy factory owners and business people lived on edge of town with their houses built into the iron mesh walls where they could see the sloping purple rock mountains and slimey green spore clouds.
Geargrind City was home to many species. Apart from the human like species who populated the city, other strange creatures lived in the region. Nebulous green spore clouds were as small as a citizen or as large as a gear factory. They were as harmless and they were mindless and these plant-like creatures would group together and float with the wind. Sometimes they carried diseases and were served as a salad like dish in poorer districts. Outside of town gas fish lived in the thick red and white gas pools that float within deep moon-like craters. These fish were a more expensive meal because they had to be lured out of the craters which held the colored dry ice like gas pool. Special masks were worn by hunters to catch the small animals but they were unreliable and a leaky mask could mean early insanity because of the affecting nature the malicious gas seas had on the mind.
Apart from various exotic sweet meats and sour fleshes that reeked of acidity and burned the tongue with a dull base flavor, large iron devices could be strapped around a person's biceps to stave off starvation. Rocks with a high percentage of particular ores could be placed inside a small stomach like orifice in the device. Powered body heat and kinesthetic movement, these devices extracted life sustaining nutrients which could prevent starvation for over a month. These machines were perilous because of the poisons which the machines could not separate from the nutrients and poverty stricken peoples who used these frequently in conjunction with heavy drinking often lost fingernails, teeth, hair, and sexual desires as a result of prolonged usage.
From the sky a city's layout appeared to be many tall, wide tubes with dots in the middle of them. Because the cold gaseous planet had a thick and extremely high atmosphere, the air was very cold in the northern region of Geargrind City. Housing structures were built around community steam tubes that channeled heat and pressure from the distant volcanoes. Although aristocratic homes could afford private heating valves which stemmed from the community tubes, most could not. Tall circular apartment like housing complexes were built around the systemic pressure release valves which emanated waves of heat radiation. System malfunctions from the steam tubing would often be fatal for the surrounding apartment denizens and for that reason the director of the Office of Public Engineers held a high profile and influential position.