Mechanical Splendours

The Silver Swan

The Silver Swan is an automaton dating from the 18th Century and is housed in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, England. It was acquired by John Bowes, the museum’s founder from a Parisian jeweller in 1872. The swan, which is life size, is a clockwork driven device that includes a music box. The swan sits in a “stream” that is made of glass rods and is surrounded by silver leaves. Small silver fish can be seen “swimming” in the stream. The mechanism was designed and built by John Joseph Merlin (1735-1803) in conjunction with the London inventor James Cox (1723-1800) in 1773.

The Silver Swan, an automaton created in 1773 by Jean-Joseph Merlin inventors and James Cox.

In its natural size, the Swan is a mechanism that includes a music box. The automatic is a Creek by represented by glass executives, and accompanied by a lot of silver fish. The whole is surrounded by sheets of silver. When the mechanism is activated, the music box plays and the glass rods rotate to give the illusion of water flowing.

The Swan turns its head from side to side and smooths his wings, then he lowers his head to catch a fish. End, the swan returns to its original position after 32 seconds. In the center of the Museum’s collections Bowes Barnard Castle, England, The Silver Swan works only once a day at 2 pm. to maintain the mechanism of. Source

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