Machine guns, and cluster bombs are only some of the amazing Leonardo da Vinci inventions on this list. The fifteenth century inventor, engineer and artist theorised inventions so ahead of their time they weren’t used for hundreds of years, until they were reinvented. Da Vinci is known to be one of the greatest geniuses of all time, and a genius in multiple fields. He epitomised everything it meant to be a renaissance man. He spent a long time theorising amazing new inventions, some military, some theatrical, and some flying machines.


Machine Gun

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Leonardo da Vinci took 33 different guns and combined them all into one giant mega gun which could fire rapidly. The weapon had three rows, each with eleven guns which would fire in unison. The next row would then fire while the first one was being reloaded. It was an amazing idea but unfortunately was never built or used in warfare. The machine had two large wheels attached to the sides so it could be moved. Leonardo da Vinci built it so that it would revolve after being fired. Row one would fire, then it would revolve back, and allow the second row to fire, that would then revolve back and allow the third one to fire. Once the third one had fired, the first row had already cooled down and been reloaded, allowing it to be fired again straight away. The point was to have an endlessly firing weapon.


Ball Bearing

One the greatest Leonardo da Vinci inventions is the ball bearing. A small metal ball may not seem that revolutionary but many modern devices depend on it. Without the ball bearing we would be further behind as a civilisation. Leonardo invented the ball bearing as only a minor part of his design for a helicopter. Drawings of the genius invention were found in his notebook. He couldn’t get the helicopter to fly however as it was way too heavy for humans to lift off with. The ball bearings act to remove friction. Unfortunate his invention wasn’t recognised for it’s usefulness, and went ignored for years. The Romans started using ball bearings in 40 AD as a way of making tables rotate.



As soon as you find out da Vinci invented the parachute you can’t not include it in a list of greatest Leonardo da Vinci inventions. He invented the parachute to allow people to fall from any height without hurting themselves in any way. He described it like this “If a man have a tent made of linen of which the apertures (openings) have all been stopped up, and it be twelve braccia (about 23 feet) across and twelve in depth, he will be able to throw himself down from any great height without suffering any injury.” Swiss base jumper, Olivier Vietti-Teppa, tested the design from a height of 2,130 feet, and landed safely.


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Davinci actually managed to create what many people consider to be the first robot ever made. He created an autonomous suit of armour, which could move on it’s own. The robot was able to sit down, stand up, and utilise it’s arms. Not only did he build robotic knights but also a robot lion as well. The robot could open it’s visor by itself as well. It was operated by a system of pulleys and bales. He supposedly used the machine to impress people at a party put on by Ludovico Sforza at the court of Milan in 1495. Like many of Leonardo da Vinci inventions it was recreated in modern times and found to be fully functional.


Self Propelled Cart

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He invented an amazing self propelled cart designed to be used for theatrical uses. Once you released the brake it would quickly move in either a straight line or in a pre-set direction. It was a small squarish object full of complicated cogs. Some have compared it to a car or the Mars rover. It doesn’t appear to have any practical use, and probably wouldn’t be very good at transporting anything. It was most just entertaining for people to watch.



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The Ornithopter was an innovative design, which da Vinci hoped would allow us to fly through the air like birds. It’s a large wooden object we would attach to ourselves to give us wings. The wings were wooden and large, and using them we would be able to stay afloat. The idea was genius and even worked in theory. The only problem is that we wouldn’t have the strength needed to lift off the ground high enough to make it work. The invention was based on the flight and body shape of birds.

Aerial Screw


The Aerial screw was a concept for a flying machine remarkably similar to a helicopter. Because of this some people have credited him with the invention of the first helicopter. If you measured it you’d find it to be fifteen feet in diameter and made from linen, reed, and wire. Four men would stand in the middle of the machine and turn cranks. The cranks would rotate the machine, and with enough rotation it should start to lift off the ground. It was a good idea but the machine just didn’t have the strength to lift four adult men. In his notebook da Vinci wrote “If this instrument made with a screw be well made – that is to say, made of linen of which the pores are stopped up with starch and be turned swiftly, the said screw will make its spiral in the air and it will rise high.”

The Cluster Bomb

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Leonardo theorised a revolutionary new type of cannon which would have been able to fire many cannon balls at the same time. It probably would have been more powerful than any other cannon at the time. He designed the cannonballs to be much smaller than normal. The cannon would fire large amounts of small stones which would rain down on enemy armies like hail. He wrote this about the invention, “I also have plans for making a cannon, very convenient and easy of transport, with which to hurl small stones in the manner almost of hail, causing great terror to the enemy from their smoke, and great loss and confusion.”

Diving Suit

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Da Vinci invented the world’s world diving suit. He designed it to give armies another way of attacking their enemies. Soldiers wearing the suits would arrive undetected to an enemies shores and be able to take them by surprise. While wearing the suit you would have to breathe through a hose, and through canes attached to a mask. Da Vinci’s solution for if divers needed to resurface quickly was to give them an inflatable balloon, to carry them to the surface. If divers needed to go to the toilet and really couldn’t hold it in then they would be able to use an inbuilt bottle.

Armoured/Scythed Vehicles

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Although many Leonardo da Vinci inventions never came to fruition, often because they didn’t work, the widely used modern tank was first theorised by da Vinci. Da Vinci’s tank was a large circular vehicle, equipped with a thick armour, and lots of guns. The machine would be powered by eight men who would have to constantly turn cranks. It took over 400 years for the tank to be built. He also designed a new type of chariot equipped with rotating scythes in front of it to decimate his enemies. Scythes were also attached to the back in order to deter attacks from behind.

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