Leonardo da Vinci Inventions:
The ingenuity of a True
Renaissance Man

Leonardo da Vinci inventions are not that well known, he is most famous for his paintings, The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but there is so much more to this genius than just those masterpieces. Many of his great works are his inventions. They show his true talent as a master of many arts and a researcher of several sciences. More than 5,000 of his designs have survived time, but there are a few that truly stand out, to this day.

Leonardo da Vinci Inventions #1: Ball bearing

A ball bearing is made with smooth spheres put in between surfaces. The principle behind it is simple, but it is one of the most useful things in the world today. Ball bearings have been present since ancient Egypt and ancient Rome, though da Vinci’s design was the most practical and closest to what a ball bearing is now.

Ball bearings are found in mechanical and electrical devices such as computers, bicycles, stools, hot tubs, washing machines and even game controllers. Most people take it for granted, but many useful things wouldn’t function without the ball bearing, and we have Leonardo da Vinci to thank for it.

Leonardo da Vinci Inventions #2: Armored car

When all around da Vinci were men fighting with spears, swords and shields, he was busying himself with designing the first ever army tank. Cannons existed at the time, but they were highly vulnerable. As with many other da vinci inventions, this was not actually made, but sketched and designed intelligently on paper.

The armored car he designed was pyramidal with a circular base. It could turn in every direction and was jam-packed with weapons. He wanted a vehicle that is virtually untouchable. His plan was to scatter enemies by intimidating them. It was meant to house as much as 8 men, and 36 guns poking out from the side. He wanted something that no amount of weapons in his time could ever penetrate or destroy. Yes when it would have moved, It would have been tremendously slow, but would anyone really want to go near something like that?

Leonardo da Vinci Inventions #3: Parachute

Da vinci inventions are a testament of how fascinated the man was by birds and the act of flight. He created designs for planes and air gliding equipment. However, one of his most useful inventions is the parachute. He liked the idea of flying, but realized it is impossible not to sustain injuries when falling off high places.

The parachute he designed was pyramidal. A cloth was draped over a wooden framework. Unlike modern parachutes, this ancient parachute did not have a harness, and was not meant for use by someone who weighed more than 90 kg.

To use it, you’d simply have to hold on tight to a rope connected to the parachute’s framework. Though it may not seem so impressive when looked at today, recent reconstructions of some of da Vinci inventions and designs in 2000 have proven them to be effective and surprisingly comfortable and easy to use.

Leonardo da Vinci Inventions #4: Cluster bomb

Throughout his life, Leonardo was fascinated and involved with the concept and design of military machines and devices. The design for what might have been the first cluster bomb was a result of his attempt to create a cannon that would be convenient to use and easy to transported and move around.

Instead of having a big army to defend the castle, this cannon could have been used as a mechanism of offence together with a smaller army, defending the premises.

The cannon he designed was meant to scatter enemies and deliver ‘splash’ damage. Da vinci meant for it to fire stones, small and almost like hail, and that it was meant to cause confusion, damage and great loss to whatever was on the receiving side.

Leonardo da Vinci Inventions #5: Diving Gear

One of the things that made Leonardo da vinci so outstanding as an artist and as inventor, was his fascination with the world around him. He allowed his imagination to explore things that seemed like complete fantasy at the time he lived in.

Da vinci looked at water not only as a physical material, but also saw the potential it had, to influence other fields, for example war fare. He designed several prototypes of diving gear, out of the concept of allowing an army to attack the shores of his enemy, by arriving undetected from underwater.

Da Vinci created two designs of diving gears. The diver was able to breath through a hose connected to a bell, and through two canes attached to a mask. His designs also included a bottle which would allow divers to urinate without having to go above water, and an inflatable balloon, which would help a diver to surface when he needed to.

Most of Leonardo da Vinci inventions have never been heard of during his time, and remained fictions of his imagination. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that they were not feasible. Several of them were reconstructed in modern times, showing that considering the knowledge Da vinci had at the time, they were impressively innovative and had tremendous potential.

These inventions are the basis of modern-day machineries and equipment. They may be popular now, but hundreds of years ago, very few men even dared think what da Vinci had conceived. Da Vinci inventions, his mastery of the arts and many fields in science have made him a true Renaissance Man.

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