Examples of gearing by Leonardo da Vinci, 15th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from one of his notebooks. Da Vinci (1452-1519) was one of the most outstanding Italian painters, sculptors, architects and engineers of the Renaisance period. He had a wide knowledge and understanding far beyond his times of most of the sciences, including biology, anatomy, physiology, hydrodynamics, mechanics and aeronautics. His notebooks, written in mirror writing, contain original remarks on all of these areas.