This entry by: Clayton 27 May 2007 11:02 pm

The Leonardo da Vinci Machines

So we went to see this exhibition of some of the designs of da Vinci. Now I was aware of his work with the good ol’ Mona Lisa, and the picture of the naked dude in the circle thing (refer picture below), and that he had a movie named after him, but wasn’t aware of all the other stuff he had been involved with.

Whoops… forgot my pants… (again…)

Now, I’m going to talk a bit about it now, because I thought it was pretty impressive. But a lot of it was based on the video that was shown at the exhibition, which may have been a bit skewed. And I haven’t researched further (eg looking it up on “The Google”, or checking Wikipedia), so it could all be bunk. So there’s the disclaimer.

So he started out the illegitimate son of some Italian big wig. Apparently this was actually a good thing, as if he’d been born legit he would have more than likely followed his father’s career, and become a lawyer. Instead, the shame meant he didn’t go to the fancy schools with the other kids, and instead developed on his own bat. The art was a big part of it, doing loads of drawings and paintings. But he was a perfectionist, and also a touch impatient, so generally he ended up starting a lot of projects but not finishing them. Apparently if he had, we would have had mp3 players in the 70s.

The interesting thing that I learned during the visit was what a war nut da Vinci was. He developed a number of military inventions for the ruling party at the time. He had this thing which could be driven up to a castle with a moat by shielded horses. Once there, a bunch of pulley ropes were released to lower a protected platform over onto the castle walls allowing the attacking mob to go in and kick seven shades out of the opposition. He also knocked together plans for the world’s first tank (bottom right in the picture below), and early plans for a helicopter (top right).

Pics from the da Vinci flyer

He also created the world’s first car. You needed to spend two hours winding the springs to make it work, but it was topless and despite the setup time still outperformed a Skoda.

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