The Silver Swan is probably the best known and best loved object in The Bowes Museum. It is believed that a waterfall was originally positioned behind the swan which may have been stolen while it was on tour. The Silver Swan Automaton is housed in the Bowes Museum, just outside the small but pretty market-town of Barnards Castles in the heart of beautiful Teesdale and in the shadow of the north Pennine hills. Dr Howard Coutts, Curator of Decorative Arts at The Bowes Museum, shares the incredible story of the Silver Swan, which will star in the Science Museum’s 2017 Robots exhibition. Mongolian Throat Singing: Batzorig Vaanchig sings with his children, The Djembe, an instrument played for the king of Mali, The Fight for Fair Housing in Milwaukee: Vel Phillips and James Groppi, Sketching wildlife with a pressure washer in an Alabama driveway, Illustrating a photorealistic portrait, a time-lapse, Juneteenth, the 155th anniversary Google Doodle narrated by LeVar Burton, Shorelines, a 1977 stop-motion short by Al Jarnow, Unapeeling, an animated short by Amber Baris, The Writer, automata by Pierre Jaquet-Droz, Mechanical singing bird box automata of the 1700s, Cheetah vs Greyhound, a speed test in slow-motion, Duncan Lou Who on his first trip to the beach, The Real Reason Leaves Change Color In the Fall – MinuteEarth, How does a watermill work?
It was there that John Bowes and his wife Joséphine Chevalier first encountered the swan. The 250-year-old automaton swan made of silver and clockwork gears plays music, moves its head, preens, and eats a 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. ", The Bowes Museum believes that the Swan is their best-known artefact, and it is the basis of the museum's logo. Smart videos for curious minds of all ages. After a few moments the swan notices the swimming fish and bends down to catch and eat one. Their findings suggested that there may be even more lost and forgotten features, such as more fish, ornaments, or flowers that once floated in the stream.
It was acquired by John Bowes, the museum's founder, from a Parisian jeweler in 1872. Small silver fish can be seen "swimming" in the stream. When wound up, music begins to play as the swan swings its head from side to side and seems to preen itself.
Enjoy another view by museum visitor Malcolm Watt: Designed and built around 1773 by inventor John Joseph Merlin, with help from jeweller and goldsmith James Cox, its clockwork insides are wound with a large key. The Celluveyor, a robot-wheel conveyor belt system, The Soccket, an energy-generating soccer ball that turns into a lamp, A swimming dinosaur: The revealing tail of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. , The swan was described in a 1773 Act of Parliament as being 3 feet (0.91 m) in diameter and 18 feet (5.49 m) high.
The Silver Swan automaton on display at The Bowes Museum. It then notices silver fish swimming between the spinning glass rods that represent the surface of the water. Courtesy of the museum: The swan is life-size and is controlled by three separate clockwork mechanisms.
 This would seem to indicate that at one time there was more to the swan than remains today as it is no longer that high.
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