The Silver Swan


(YouTube link)

The Silver Swan is an automaton built in 1773. Now housed at the Bowes Museum, it finds and eats a fish every day at noon and 3PM.
The swan is life-size and is controlled by three separate clockwork mechanisms. The Silver Swan rests on a stream made of twisted glass rods interspersed with silver fish. When the mechanism is wound up, the glass rods rotate, the music begins, and the Swan twists its head to the left and right and appears to preen its back. It then appears to sight a fish in the water below and bends down to catch it, which it then swallows as the music stops and it resumes its upright position. This performance lasts approximately 40 seconds.

I wonder if the robots being built now will still work in 235 years. Link -via Metafilter

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

For the time period, that's astonishing. We see so much stuff on the internet and on TV that we're often desensitized to things that truly are incredible.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
@RM - http://www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk/collections/swan/

I live a few miles away from the Bowes Museum. I remember my parents taking me to see it when I was 9 or 10. I wasn't impressed.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
This is interesting because it defies our concept of mechanical abilities 235 years ago. 235 years from now - if humans are still around - they'll be sitting on piles of leftover mechanical and plastic garbage, and won't be so interested in our 12-inch Japanese girlfriend robots.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.





Email This Post to a Friend
"The Silver Swan"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.

 

Success! Your email has been sent!

close window