Page 12 - The 'X' Chronciles Newspaper - June / July 2018 Edition
P. 12

12                                 Leonardo, The Science Guy

                 LEONARD, THE

                   SCIENCE GUY

                  Continued from Page 11

          Then there was his parachute - which he
          conceived of as a means of transportation, not as
          a means of exiting an airplane. Leonardo’s
          parachute was a tent 24 feet across and high. He
          supposedly tested it himself from a tower -
          nearly 300 years before the first recorded jump
          was made, in 1783, in France.

          Leonardo’s longest  gig, patron-wise, was the
          time he spent with the Duke of Milan from 1482
          to 1499. Besides painting portraits and
          designing festivals for the duke, he also
           •  Locks for canals in the duke’s neighborhood
           •  A pump that raised water from a stream and
             distributed it through the castle
           •  A heating system for the duchess’s bath
           •  One of the world’s first air-cooling
             systems(for the duchess’s boudoir)
           •  War weapons that included:
                 * Stink bombs mounted on arrows
                 *  An armored tank that looked like a
          flying saucer (because it could move in any
          direction, and the guns mounted on it could
          point anywhere)
                 * An assault chariot (one of Leonardo’s   •  A version of the bicycle
          most dubious inventions, it was propelled by a   •  Floats for walking on water                         PATENT #6,469
          man on horseback, and was equipped with        He was also the first person to draw maps giving
          projecting scythe blades so it could mow down an idea of the hills and valleys in the landscape.
          the enemy as if moved forward)                 His maps were not truly topographic, but close
                 * A gadget for lighting cannon powder   enough.
          that worked just like, and was about the same
          size as, a (now vintage) Ronson cigarette lighter. IS THIS THE END OF LEO?
                                                         Leonardo spent his last years (1516-1519) in the
          BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL                       service of Francis I, the king of France, and is, in
          For his own use, Leonardo invented an oil lamp fact, buried in Amboise, in Central France.
          for working at night (which ge often did). And         There are a couple of 18th and 19th
          just in case he slept late, he invented an alarm century paintings - based more on legend than
          clock - which didn’t keep time at all. It was kind truth - depicting Leonardo’s death in the arms of
          of a Rube Goldberg contraption that worked King Francis.  The king thought a lot of
          with weights and water; in stead of waking him Leonardo: “no other man had been born into the
          with a “ring!” it would jerk at his foot to awaken world who knew as much as Leonardo,” he
          him.                                           supposedly said. But it’s doubtful that Francis
                                                         thought enough of the artist to actually embrace
          EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN                     him on his deathbed.
                                                         MONA MIGRATES
          A few of his miscellaneous inventions and
          designs, big and small:                        Leonardo painted the Mona Lisa in the first
           •  A coin stamping machine                    years of the 16th century, probably in 1506. He
           •  A spotlight                                brought the painting with him when he left Italy
           •  Ball bearings                              to work in France. And that’s why you’ll find her
           •  Portable bridges                           still hanging around Paris - in the Louvre -      On of the more interesting documents filed
           •  A well pump that used the same stream as a  today.                                           with the patent office, was U.S. patent
                                                                                                           number 6,469. It’s title is “Buoying Vessels
             source of both supply and power
           •  A lazy Susan that worked between the 20TH CENTURY POSTSCRIPT                                 over Shoals.” The invention, according to its
             kitchen and dining room                     In 1994, Bill Gates plunked down more than $30    creator, “is a new and improved manner of
                                                                                                           combining adjustable buoyant air chambers
           •  Not one, but two, automatic roasting spits million for one of Leonardo’s notebooks: the
                                                                                                           with a steam boat or other vessel for the
             (one operated by mechanical power, the Codex Leicester. []
                                                                                                           purpose of enabling them to pass over bars or
             other by a fan set into the chimney)
                                                                                                           through shallow water.”
           •  The prototype of an automobile: a wagon
                                                                                                                  The inventor whittled a 20-inch
             that it propelled itself by means of springs
                                                                                                           model to demonstrate how these buoyant
             and gears, with a transmission system that
                                                                                                           chambers would look - but like many other
             turned the wheels at different speeds when
                                                                                                           inventors - Abraham Lincoln never did raise
             the wagon rounded a curve
                                                                                                           the funds to build a workable version of his
           •  A diving suit (in leather) with an air
                                                                                                           idea. []
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