History Museum of History
More of an architect than an inventor, Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the great minds that drove the Renaissance. In order to build his famous Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, he invented an oxen powered crane which could lift enormous blocks of stone, and move them in a lateral motion as well. This technology had never been seen before and significantly cut production time and cost of new buildings. Before Brunelleschi, clocks and watches were very large and cumbersome. On top of his crane innovations, he found a way to fit the whole clock apparatus into a casing the size of his palm using spring power.
Sir John Harington
Not world reknowned, but Sir John Harington is responsible for creating one of the most widely spread inventions of today. His first flushing toilet reinvented hygeine and improved the standard of living across Europe. Like his medieval counterparts, Harington had the telltale gift of curiosity and conviction to better one's life, which was what changed the world and ultimately ended the Dark Ages.
Hans Lippershy was a Dutch eyeglass maker. After the invention of the microscope, he figured there must be a way to view things too far away for the naked eye, instead of just too small. He invented the telescope by arranging concave and convex lenses in a metal tube. Outer space and its farthest reaches were now visible to Renaissance astronomers and astrologists. Perhaps the most famous, Galileo Galilei, benifited directly in his study of the heavens.
Leonardo da Vinci
Born in Florence, Italy, in 1452, Leonardo da Vinci has been considered the original Renaissance Man. He has left an enormous impact from Europe's rebirth to the modern era. As a scientist, mathematician, inventor, engineer, painter, muscician, and sculptor, da Vinci left behind many baffling and wonderful pieces of art and innovation. Leonardo's works ranged from the iconic Last Supper, the Mona Lisa, and Vitruvian Man, to designs for helicopters, tanks, concentrated sunlight, and even an outlined theory of plate tectonics 400 years early.