Leonardo da Vinci, engineer

Castle of Clos Lucé

Paddle wheel according to Leonardo da Vinci's drawing © château du Clos Lucé, according to Leonardo da Vinci © Château du Clos Lucé, 2018, From the collection of: 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.
Movable bridge according to Leonardo da Vinci's drawing © château du Clos Lucé, according to Leonardo da Vinci © Château du Clos Lucé, 2018, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

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.

The Bi-level bridge © château du Clos Lucé, 2018, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé
L'ingénierie civile 
Suite aux ravages de la peste en Italie, Léonard de Vinci a l'intuition qu'une meilleure circulation peut contribuer à l'amélioration de l'état sanitaire des villes. Il développe cette approche singulière dans son projet de cité idéale où la circulation s'ordonne sur deux niveaux distincts.
The Bi-level bridge © château du Clos Lucé, 2018, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

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

The Bi-level bridge © château du Clos Lucé, 2018, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

The other, upper, was reserved for pedestrians.

Machine gun © château du Clos Lucé, © Château du Clos Lucé, 2017, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé
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.
Tank © château du Clos Lucé, 2017, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

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.

The rotating clock movement, IBM according to Leonardo da Vinci, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé
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.
The shuttle movement, Elie Azoulay according to Leonardo da Vinci, 2011 - 2011, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

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.

The hoist for the lantern of Firenze cupola, Elie Azoulay according to Leonardo da Vinci, 2011 - 2011, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

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.

The hoist for the lantern of Firenze cupola, Elie Azoulay according to Leonardo da Vinci, 2011 - 2011, From the collection of: Castle of Clos Lucé

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

Château du Clos Lucé
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Château du Clos Lucé

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