The Canard Digerateur, or Digesting Duck, was an automaton in the form of a duck, created by Jacques de Vaucanson in 1739. The mechanical duck appeared to have the ability to eat kernels of grain, and to metabolise and defecate them. While the duck did not actually have the ability to do this - the food was collected in one inner container, and the feces being 'produced' from a second, so that no actual digestion took place - Vaucanson hoped that a truly digesting automaton could one day be designed.
Good old Voltaire wrote that "without [...] the duck of Vaucanson, you have nothing to remind you of the glory of France." ("Sans...le canard de Vaucanson vous n'auriez rien qui fit ressouvenir de la gloire de la France.") This is often misquoted as "Without the shitting duck, we would have nothing to remind us of the glory of France."