The Silver Swan is an automaton dating from the 18th Century and is housed in the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, Teesdale, County Durham, England which was acquired by John Bowes, the museum's founder from a Parisian jeweler in 1872. The life size swan is a clockwork driven device that includes a music box and 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 which adds a remarkable effect to the overall realness of time.
Built by John Joseph Merlin (1735-1803) in conjunction with the London inventor James Cox (1723–1800) in 1773, the swan was sold several times and was shown at the World's Fair (Exposition Universelle (1867) held in Paris, France. The American novelist Mark Twain observed the swan and recorded his observation in a chapter of the Innocents Abroad, writing that the swan "had a living grace about his movement and a living intelligence in his eyes." The Bowes Museum believes that the Swan is their best known artifact, and it is the basis of the museum's logo. The second video below also features a Peacock clock which though similar, features entirely different aspects into this timeless art.
"You're either the one creating the automation or you're getting automated" -Tom Preston-Werner