The Bowes Museum is in North East England and has, among its collection, a silver swan automaton that dates back to 1773. It was purchased for Â£200 in 1872. Not a bad price–they should have bought two, it might have been cheaper. Anyway, twice a day it goes through its performance of eating a fish in a bit that lasts forty seconds. Showing here:
The obvious question is: why just two a day? Surely a clockwork swan needs more sustenance than that? The answer: clockwork fish are in short supply having been overfished nearly out of existence in the early 20th Century. Plus, salt water is hell on their internal pieces-parts. For more and perhaps less suspect information, go here.
Found via Neatorama.