Theres More To Da Vinci Than The Mona Lisa
by Kerry Finch ■ Updated: July 24, 2019
When we hear the name “Leonardo da Vinci”, our minds tend to gravitate towards his most famous and beloved painting, the “Mona Lisa” or possibly “The Last Supper”.
While well known for his artistic talents, da Vinci (1452-1519) was a student of science and was an accomplished architect, mathematician, botanist, and inventor.
In May we marked the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s death, and what better way to celebrate the mind of this creative genius than to take a look at some of his best inventions – and encourage family and friends to explore and experience them as well! We’ll start with one of his most famous inventions: the catapult.
The da Vinci Catapult
The catapult isn’t an original da Vinci invention.
It was originally built by the Ancient Romans and Greeks, though da Vinci’s catapult drawings in 1485 proved to be a significant improvement on its design.
His firing system involves a pawl and ratchet which can easily be tightened in increments by just one person.
When the tension is released by the removal of the pawl (or firing pin), the stored energy forces the arms to swing, thus throwing a person’s ammo of choice (whether that be a lead ball or a flaming cannonball) towards its desired destination.
You can build your own scale replica of da Vinci’s catapult based on his original plans!
This fully functional model can be built in an hour or less and allows operators to hurl clay balls by as far as four metres away.
The da Vinci Helicopter
“Helical Air Screw” or “Aerial Screw”
It wasn’t until the 20th century that the first fully functional helicopter took flight. But sketches produced by da Vinci from the 15th century were used to map out its design.
This screw-like machine was designed to compress air in order to keep an object in flight.
Da Vinci’s idea involved four people standing on a central platform while turning cranks to rotate the shaft.
The belief was that with a forceful enough rotation, the turning of the aerial screw would allow it to take flight.
Our top-rated da Vinci Helicopter model here at CoolThings Australia is easy to make and takes anywhere from one to two hours to complete.
Crafted from natural and untreated wood, children (and their caregivers) can learn some basic principals of aerospace and aerodynamics!
The da Vinci Tank
Da Vinci’s tank is credited as being a precursor to the modern day tank.
This heavily armoured vehicle was shielded by a large protective cover and was able to move in all directions. It was also heavily equipped with multiple weapons and a sighting turret, allowing users to fire off cannons while steering the vehicle.
Our da Vinci tank includes multiple pre-cut easy to assemble pieces which, when put together, closely resemble a turtle shell – just as da Vinci designed!
The tank comes with 360-degree mock cannons and can be pieced together by a beginner in just a matter of hours.
Why Re-Create da Vinci’s Works?
Studying da Vinci’s designs and bringing his sketches to life helps broaden a child’s natural curiosity and teaches them to explore and expand on ideas.
Piecing these re-creation kits together independently or as a family sharpens each person’s senses, encourages independent thinking, and inspires innovation.
Our da Vinci kits strike a perfect balance between logic and imagination. Ignite both hemispheres of the brain and pick up one of our da Vinci construction kits as a gift for yourself or a loved one today!