'Webbed glove for swimming in the sea', by Leonardo da Vinci, late 15th century.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Illustration taken from the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), showing a man wearing an inflatable life-jacket. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer and inventor 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.