.Machines give real wings to our flights of fancy...Return
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Basic Concepts

Simple Machines


Activities for Students

Activities for Teachers

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The links on this page are to Web sites which feature application of simple machines to performing a variety of tasks. The Leonardo Exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science is a particularly rich resource showing Leonardo's inventions in models and drawings. You may also be interested to learn about how simple machines are applied to mountain climbing and in rescue operations.
The Inventor's Workshop
from the Exploring Leonardo Exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science From this starting point learn about Leonardo's envisioning of many modern machines in
Visions of the Future.
Here are additional resources about Leonardo's extraordinary inventivenss:
Leonardo's Machines
from the "Leonardo da Vinci" National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan, Italy. Look at models and drawings of machines invented by Leonardo for use in war and commerce. Among them are many applications of simple machines. Look especially at the Aerial Screw or the Revolving Crane.
Virtual Leonardo
from the "Leonardo da Vinci" National Museum of Science and Technology in Milan Cosmo Player is required.
Machines and Inventions of Leonardo
From the University of Virginia, this page features descriptions and links to images of mechanical devices created my Leonardo.
Drawings of Machines by Leonardo Da Vinci
Here you'll find images of a variety of weapons and devices for doing work that Leonardo designed. The images are of high quality and load into a special viewer screen for detailed inspection. Included is a link to a brief but comprehensive biography of Leonardo.
Scientific American: Leonardo's Invention of the Wheellock
This article from Scientific American On-line describes Leonardo's invention of a device for firing a musket. It also includes a discussion and links to illustrations of other Leonardo inventions such as the bicycle.
Leonardo's Polyhedra
Although not really simple machines, George Hart's page celebrating Leonardo's constructions of regular polyhedra features a number of excellent images of these complicated geometric figures.
Innovative Engineers of the Renaissance
This site describes a traveling exhibit mounted by the Museum of the History of Science in Florence Italy.
The models featured in this exhibit
Here you can read a list and see images of the models of engineering innovations that are included in the museum's exhibit.
Renaissance of the Machine
From an interview with the curator of the Museum Tour, The Art of Invention, this article discusses the dessing and applications of machinery inventions during the Renaissance period.
The Development of Engineering as a Profession
This portion of the interview with Paolo Galluzzi describes how engineering emerged as a profession during the Renaissance.
Mechanical Advantage as applied to bicycle brakes
This page is part of Sheldon Brown's site on bicycle mechanics and maintenance. He does an excellent job of describing the application of lever geometry to the way cantilever bicycle brakes work.
Ropes and Pulleys used in Rescue
Here Mechanical advantage is discussed as applied to using ropes in rescue operations by the Bay Area Search and Rescue Council.

Last updated Tuesday, March 12, 2002
© 2002 All rights reserved   Tom Stork
Background adapted from "Design for a flying machine," a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci