Around 1978, my Dad bought a Franco-Belge hopper feed stove, probably an early 10-175, and installed it in his basement. He eventually met several other F-B burners through the dealer. One such guy took my Dad to see his stove. He was a retired engineer of some sort, probably mechanical. He'd rigged up an electric motor with a timer to shake his F-B stove.
For those of you not familiar, the F-B stoves have two circular cast iron shaker grates, side by side, under a rectangular firebasket. Each grate has a cast iron tab that sticks out through a slot in the front of the stove. To shake the ashes, you use tool with a short handle and a soft of eye hook at the one end, insert it through a hole in the shaker grate tab, and shake it back and forth horizontally. This moves the grates in a back-and-forth circular motion and the ashes fall through the grates.
Well, this guy had used some angle metal to mount a small, vertical shaft motor at side of the stove. The shaft had a horizontal tab attached, which circulated in about a 4" circle parallel to the floor. He bolted this tab to a long articulated metal arm that reached across the front of the stove and was supported by a small metal bracket at the other side. He welded short, round metal "fingers" to the bar just above the shaker grate holes, so the fingers engaged the tabs.
When the motor ran, the result was the bar moved back and forth slowly in about a two-inch range, moving the grates and shaking the stove. The owner then connected an electrical timer to the motor that started it and ran it for three or four revs every hour. And there you have it--no manual shaking and a nice, evenly burning fire. Sure beats the 3-4 times the F-Bs usually needed shook daily.
Somehow, this rig was also hinged to flip and out of the way so the ash door could be opened. A lot of Yankee ingenuity there!