Posted on November 14, 2010

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Right, we all know that da Vinci was a genius, don’t we. But to understand just what a genius he was, the believing is in the seeing.

I attended a touring exhibition of machines made from diagrams in da Vinci’s surviving notebooks. He made things like ball bearings. Now ball bearings are just an ordinary part of everyday life, in every motor vehicle for a start. But this was one heck of an innovation in da Vinci’s day. One of the things in this exhibition that really blew me away was what surely had to be the first self-powered vehicle: a vehicle powered by wooden springs!

So here is a gallery containing;
· Three different types of ball-bearing
· Two views of a seige machine allowing men to cross walls of a besieged castle in relative safety
· The exterior and interior of a tank powered by eight men with cannon facing all directions
· A cannon ship that fires in 360 degrees
· A robot!
· Water skis
· The framework for a human-powered glider
· A water-powered woodmill
· A spring-driven, self-propelled vehicle!

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