Many of Leonardo’s designs must have seemed complex and difficult to follow to the ordinary 15th century mind.
Leonardo sought “an edge” over military enemies when he designed a “bombard” to fire deadly exploding shells that fired flaming iron fragments instead of stone balls. The canon uses a crank worm screw to change aim and trajectory.
This design fans out ten gun barrels which appear to be loaded through the small door at the rear (breech loading). Breech loading machine guns didn’t appear until the U.S. Civil War four centuries later.
Leonardo designed the first ball bearing for a 15th century revolving stage production in Milan.
The da Vinci exhibit is kid friendly. Here a boy cranks the burning mirror machine while watching the effect.
The burning mirror machine uses gears to rotate a stone grinder and a horizontal mirror simultaneously. The machine was used by artisans for welding and perhaps also intended for setting enemy ships afire.
Movement was central to Leonardo’s inventions. His chain and sprocket provided speed ratios.
Leonardo Da Vinci was not only a highly creative artist, but also a very logical and precise engineer and scientist. He invented the “exploded drawing” to isolate and emphasize the different parts as seen for this machine that changes the axis of rotation. Reminds us of an auto’s driveshaft, differential, and rear axel.
Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks are filled with sketches of machines he designed. This machine was used to lift heavy pillars and obelisks. Gearwheels, lantern pinions, and worm screws are all part of the design.
Machines in Motion is a special exhibit of Leonardo da Vinci’s revolutionary 15th century drawings and working machine replicas displayed at Appleton’s Castle Museum. Although he never succeeded in creating an actual flying machine, he did design a machine based on the wings of bats and birds of prey which the pilot would work with ropes and pulleys.