Sharon hipped me to this incredible piece of machinery yesterday. It's good to have a girlfriend who's studying the East India Company! Incredibly advanced for 1795, wouldn't you say? Here's the skinny from Wikipedia:
"Tipu's Tiger was originally made for Tipu Sultan in the Kingdom of Mysore in or around 1795. Tipu Sultan used the tiger systematically as his emblem, employing tiger motifs on his weapons, on the uniforms of his soldiers, and on the decoration of his palaces. The operation of a crank handle powers several different mechanisms inside Tipu's Tiger. A set of bellows expels air through a pipe inside the man's throat. This produces a wailing sound, simulating the cries of distress of the victim. A mechanical link causes the man's left arm to rise and fall. This action alters the pitch of the 'wail pipe'. Another mechanism inside the tiger's head expels air through two pipes. This produces a sound simulating the roar of the tiger. Concealed behind a flap in the tiger's flank is a small ivory keyboard; depressing these keys expels air through a series of organ pipes."
More at The Victoria and Albert Museum's info page.