All Things Renaissance Museum

Famous Renaissance Inventors Exhibit

Exhibit Overview:

There were many great inventors and inventions during the Renaissance. In this exhibit we will be focusing on four main inventors; Leonardo da Vinci, Sir John Harrington, Galileo Galilei, and Juhannes Guttenberg. All of these inventors were talented in many different areas, and often they invented things because of their jobs or other interests. We can also make modern day connections to these inventions, as they are similar to some of the things we still use today!

Leonardo da Vinci

Not only was Leaonardo da Vinci an artist, architect, scientist, and engineer, he was also an inventor. Da Vinci's inventions ranged froms the ball bearing to a machine gun. He created two different versions of diving suits and a decive that copied birds wings, called an ornithopter that he believed would have allowed humans to fly. The ornithopter is one of his better known inventions. During the the Renaissance many artists were fasinated by the human body and spent time studying it. Da Vinci was no different! Using pulleys and cables da Vinci was able to design and build a human robot. This "kinght" could do some human actions, such as walking and sitting and was popular for entertainment among the guetst of da Vinci's patron.

Sir John Harrington

John Harrington was the godson of Queen Elizabeth as well as an artist and an author who is known for his poetry. Harrington actually invented a flushing toliet and put it in his manor. His godmother Queen Elizabeth also used his invention. He named his invention ajax because jax was the slang word for privy. Harrington's invention got him into a little trouble when he wrote a book on it called A New Discourse of a State Metamorphosis of Ajax. The book was contriversial politically because it was had many metaphors and Harrington seemed to be using his book to be a bit of a rebel. For instance, Harrington said his flush toilet was a metaphore for a clean spirit. Others mocked the idea of a flushing toliet when they read Harrington's book.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo is well known for all of his science and astronomy discoveries. However, in order to study the sky, Galileo first had to invent the telescope. Although Galileo wasn't the first one to create a telescope, he created one himself with only limited information about them. He also increased the magnification of the telescope from 3x to 30x the magnification! Another creation that Galileo further advanced was the pendulum clock. Again Galileo did not come up with the idea of the clock but he did find that the arch of the pendulum does not affect the time it takes for the pendulum to swing, or the isochronism. He also had a few smaller inventions such as a thermometer, compass, and water pump. Galileo made some of these inventions in order to make money to support his family and pay for his sister's dowries.

Johannes Gutenberg

Johannes Gutenberg worked as a blacksmith and goldsmith as well as a printer. He invented the printing press by using ideas from other inventions and had borrow money to fund his project. Gutenberg used ink and moveable printing pieces in order to make printing books faster. Gutenberg printed 200 Bibles, called Gutenberg Bibles, using his printing press. The printing press could print up to 1,000 pages a day. The printing press helped to make more books avaliable to people because it was easier, faster, and cheaper to create them!