You can get your hands on Leonardo da Vinci's inventions -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

You can get your hands on Leonardo da Vinci's inventions

You can get your hands on Leonardo da Vinci's inventions

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Leonardo da Vinci's tank at The Discovery Science Place Leonardo da Vinci's tank at The Discovery Science Place

If he could see his inventions at The Discovery Science Place in Tyler, he might never leave.

We’re talking about Leonardo da Vinci, and his concepts, most of which were never built during his lifetime. Well, a lot of them are built now, they’re on display, and they are hands on.

Da Vinci’s devices are as numerous as they are brilliant, and kind of bulky. Jim Cox, Exhibit Manager of The Discovery Science Place is helping assemble the display which was built in Italy, of course.

“This is da Vinci’s tank. Obviously it came in sections so we could get it in the door, but apparently if you had eight stout lads on these wheels you could wheel this thing around and there are cannons. I’m told the only thing that would really slow it down was flaming arrows, so fire was not its friend,” Cox said.

Some of the display is working machines like the Archimedes Screw which is pretty much a water pump, and others are more like parts. Kris Fischer with The Discovery Science Place is as fascinated as everyone else. She’s going to help Jim show us some of this stuff.

“This is the concept of ball bearing here. Obviously we use ball bearings all the time,” Cox said.

“These are gears, so you’re changing the ratio of gears and you’re also changing the direction of the motion,” Fischer stated.

“This is like a flywheel. You use the palms of your hands to spin the vertical shaft. This is a ball bearing and a worm screw to produce a jack. This is a chain drive so you have a tooth gear and you have a chain and another tooth gear. This is the principle of taking sheet metal and thinning it down, or making pasta, or wringing out your clothes,” Cox said demonstrating several different items.

So some devices are pretty obvious, and others, even after 500 years, are a challenge to figure out.

Even though it doesn’t really look like one, he invented a reloading machine gun. That makes me wonder what his voice sounded like: The Godfather, maybe?

Da Vinci’s machines will be on display all summer long at The Discovery Science Place starting May 22, and they’re teamed up with Tyler Junior College who has the other part of the display which features da Vinci’s air machines.

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