This Silver Swan Automaton Is a 250-Year-Old Mechanical Marvel

Created in 1774 to impress royalty and their guests, the Silver Swan automaton remains an impressively intricate mechanical wonder that continues to captivate audiences.

Built for royalty that ended up changing their minds, the Silver Swan is one of the most famous automatons in history. It was put together at the Mechanical Museum of James Cox, a London jeweler and 18th-century entrepreneur, using an internal mechanism designed by inventor John Joseph Merlin. The chased, repouss√© silver body of the swan conceals three clockwork mechanisms that control a music box, a pool of glass with swimming silver fish, and the life-like movements of the majestic bird’s neck and head. Seeing the Silver Swan in action, it’s easy to forget that this mesmerizing mechanical marvel is no less than 250 years old.

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