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Alphabet and Introduction to Leonardo's Inventions

Leonardo wrote using a special kind of shorthand that he adapted for himself. He used "mirror image writing", starting at the bottom right hand side of the page and moving up the page writing from right to left. Some believe this was his patent to help protect his ideas, others believe it was his way of teaching himself to write with a quill without smudging the pages. Only when he was writing for other people did he write in the normal direction. In the main he preferred to use a blood or rust colored ink.


Because of his limited formal education, he created an adapted alphabet that worked for him, and which you see in his notebooks. It is from Leonardo’s notebooks that our artisans have researched, interpreted, designed and recreated the machines on display, a feat in itself. Each model has been constructed directly from the pages of his codices. The machines are the result of fine craftsmanship. The artisans have in the main used materials readily available in the 15Th Century including wood, cotton, brass, iron, canvas and chord.


Historical documents reveal that Leonardo commissioned local artisans, who were the only craftsmen he trusted, to construct a few of the machines he designed. Unfortunately, none of these machines have survived to the present day.


Leonardo often would deliberately design and plant faults in his machine designs, so as to act as a patent over his ideas.


Here in the exhibition, his machines are presented in six key areas:

-       Civil Machines

-       Father of Flight

-       Military Engineering

-       Aquatic and Hydraulic Machines

-       Instruments of Music, Optics and Time

-     Physics and Mechanical Principles    

Da Vinci - Inventions
  1. Welcome and Introduction
  2. Life and Times
  3. About Leonardo
  4. Codices - Notebooks
  5. Anatomical Studies
  6. Alphabet and Introduction to Leonardo's Inventions
  7. Civil Machines
  8. Autotraction Car
  9. The Ideal City
  10. Father of Flight
  11. Aerial Screw
  12. Flying Machine
  13. Glider
  14. Parachute
  15. Introduction and Overview of Aquatic and Hydraulic Machines
  16. Emergency Bridge
  17. Scuba and Breathing Equipment
  18. Submarine
  19. Paddle Boat
  20. Instruments of Optics, Music, and Time
  21. Mechanical Drum
  22. Spot Light
  23. Mirror Room
  24. Physics and Mechanical Principals
  25. The Last Supper
  26. Bicycle
  27. Military Engineering
  28. Ogival Bullet
  29. Three-Registered Machine Gun
  30. Steam Canon
  31. The Battle of Anghiara Drawings
  32. Renaissance Art
  33. The Mona Lisa
  34. Self Portrait
  35. The Lady with an Ermine
  36. Annunciation
  37. Virgin of the Rocks
  38. The Madonna Litta
  39. The Benois Madonna
  40. Portrait of a Musician
  41. St. Jerome
  42. The Vitruvian Man
  43. Sforza Horse Sculpture
  44. Conclusion and Thank You