Lenardo da Vinci, engineer

Castle of Clos Lucé

Hydraulic projects
During a Renaissance in full swing, water management was a major power concern for the cities and states of Europe. Waterways became the new "highways" for transporting cargo. Leonardo da Vinci very quickly understood the pivotal role of the science of hydraulics.

This swing bridge is fixed on to one of the banks with a vertical pivot that allows it to turn on itself. A system of ropes and pulleys help the bridge move in just a few minutes to make room for the ships or withdraw access across the water. The column acts as the balance point.

François I asked Leonardo da Vinci to work on a project which linked the Loire and Rhône rivers. The master conceived locks, river construction, swing bridges, and even paddle boats for the Kingdom's channels.

Following the devastating effects of the Plague in Italy, Leonardo da Vinci had the notion that better traffic in towns and cities could contribute to a higher level of sanitation. He developed this unique approach in his model city project, where traffic was organized into two distinct levels.

Its dual-level bridge offered separate passageways: one, the lower, was for goods, carts and horses.

The other, upper, was reserved for pedestrians.

Leonardo da Vinci, military engineer
Leonardo da Vinci is readily known for his love of nature and the arts. The Florentine master also dedicated almost 30 years of his life to helping military commanders and heads of states in conflict, designing hundreds of weapons and machines which were both formidable and deadly.

The fighting vehicle is one of Leonardo da Vinci's most iconic machines. By combining the firepower of 30 canons, a command turret and a mechanized system for movement, it gave a new technological dimension to artillery on wheels which surpassed existing prototypes.

The level of precision of the model impressed: tortoise shell-like armor with thirty openings to fire on all sides, a turret offering a 360° view, an interior space that could accommodate a dozen men, and serrated wheels to ensure maximum support.

5 centuries later, it may have been an inspiration for our modern day tanks.

Rotary movement
The transformation of movement is one of the principal operational functions of Leonardo da Vinci's machines. To convert pedal strokes and crank turns into regular movements, he used cogs. This idea of gears was shaped by its similarity with his works on anatomy. It is probably this sense of connections and this systemic vision which is reflected in his vision of the mechanics of components.

Since ancient times, mastering movement was achieved through a set of simple machines: the winch, lever, pulley, wedge, and screw.

Leonardo da Vinci became interested in the art of clock making, in particular in the springs used to create a continuous mechanism. The Florentine engineer was fascinated by springs: something which controlled movement in one dimension with unprecedented accuracy.

Studying movement allowed Leonardo da Vinci to innovate in the field of architecture. He came up with systems that distributed weight and force, such as the crane used in the construction of the dome of Florence cathedral, as designed by Filippo Brunelleschi.

A screw and wheel system which enables vertical and lateral movement of loads.

The man of art and science
His ability to continually conceive, invent and anticipate the future comes from his observation of Nature and his cross-discipline curiosity.
Château du Clos Lucé
Credits: Story

Château du Clos Lucé

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