To really illustrate what I'm getting at here let me point to one of the biggest steampunk productions in media history, Steamboy. It's an animated film by the director of Akira that took ten years to make and at the time of its release had the largest budget of any feature length Japanese anime ever. While some of the music and visuals are nice, the story and characters are utterly forgettable. The technology on display is also unremarkable for the most part. It's a common mistake for fans of the genre to get hung up on the visual athletics (i.e. wanting to cover modernity in gears and boilers thinking it will impress). It doesn't really work because it just turns into the 1890s with today's conveniences. Conversely, stuff like the monowheel seems to exist solely to have a piece of flashy gonzo tech that's purpose would have otherwise just as well been served by a much more mundane conveyance such as a horse, bicycle or handcar. Actually the one and only truly clever piece off design in Steamboy, I would argue, is the steam ball. This story maguffin is actually intriguing in that it helps address issues with a key aspect of steam power in general. I believe the webpage on TV Tropes regarding steampunk sums it up nicely:
[A]ny Victorian-era society which actually tried to create steampunk technology would soon find itself in stark trouble. Barring magical intervention, the power requirements necessary to make real-world versions of steampunk devices (or at least Victorian-era versions of 20th century technology) would be enormous, and would soon exhaust all available supplies of coal and wood. A real steampunk society would have to either immediately transform into a fully modern society (with oil, gas, and nuclear power driving devices made of modern, lighter materials) or would quickly become, in all probability, a technological dead end. With this said, the recent development of a number of designs of rocket stoves beginning in the 1980s, have demonstrated that a highly fuel efficient steam boiler may in fact not be quite so impractical after all, at least on a small scale. On this point, it is also worth mentioning that the average contemporary power station still runs primarily on large coal-fired steam turbines, and that nuclear power still actually involves running a steam turbine as well, but simply uses the heat from (ideally) contained nuclear reactions to generate steam, rather than a wood or coal-fed fire.