Renaissance Inventors

At the St. Peter Renaissance Museum

Renaissance Inventions Exhibit

Come see our exhibit for Renaissance Inventions that changed the way people viewed possibility forever. Focusing on inventions and ideas by Leonardo Da Vinci, our exhibit contains some of the most interesting and revolutionary inventions from the Renaissance period.


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Leonardo's Ornithopter

Leonardo Da Vinci had a fascination with birds and the idea of flight. This fascination inspired the idea of the ornithopter. The ornithopter was a machine that was similar to a bird or a bat. The machine had wings on either side that were controlled by handles on each wing. It is not sure if Leonardo ever actually build the ornithopter but studies show that if it were already in the air, It could fly. Taking off, however, could be a slight problem.

Leonardo's Armored Tank

Leonardo made a sketch of an "Ultimate War Machine". It was controlled and powered by 8 men from the inside and was armed with 36 guns facing in different directions around the machine. On top of that, the men inside were completely protected by armor plating all around them. This was Da Vinci's armored tank. Leonardo drew the machine while working for the Duke of Milan. There is one flaw in the design of the tank however. The way the gears are placed would cause the front wheels to move backwards, immobilizing the tank. Historians believe that this was not a mistake, but instead a way of making sure that no one could build the death machine except Leonardo himself.

Leonardo's Robotic Knight

On top of his flight fascination, Leonardo also had a great interest in human anatomy. He spent a lot of time dissecting bodies and studying the way it worked. Using the knowledge he gathered, he figured he could build a machine that used the same mechanisms as human muscles mostly operated by pulleys and gears. There are clues hinting that Leonardo actually built the machine but it has not been found. It was also mostly used for entertainment purposes because of its lack of the ability to think for itself. It could do things like walk, sit down, and move its jaw.

Leonardo's Diving Suit

Leonardo Da Vinci was interested in land, sky, and sea. His diving suit, which he made while living in Venice during the late 15th century, was originally intended to sabotage enemy ships from below by allowing men to break holes in the ship from underwater. The suit allowed the user to breath under water by having a hose connected from the suit to a diving bell full of air. The suit was never actually constructed because the ships that the suits were supposed to be used to sabotage were repelled by the Venetian Navy.