Drawing on Ideas

I like to look at Leonardo’s notebooks. Leonardo da Vinci. And, of course, not his actual notebooks, but facsimiles. He was, to its truest, a Renaissance Man. As I see it, one of the most gifted people this planet has ever known.

Leonardo da Vinci had so many talents it is hard to count them. There are a few people I’d like to go back in history, and meet. You know, grab a cup of Joe, and chat it up a while. He is one of them.

He was good at so much. Like, the arts, sciences, music, and engineering. And then there were his paintings. His sculptures. But, on this January 3rd, of 1496, he tested a flying machine. However. It failed. Miserably.

As a note. His name. I wonder what people — his friends and such — called him. Leonardo had no surname. Not really. It seems that “da Vinci” simply meaning “of Vinci”. And technically, his full birth name was “Lionardo di ser Piero da Vinci”

All of that means “Leonardo, (son) of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci”. The inclusion of the title “ser” indicated that Leonardo’s father was a gentleman. Boring. Boring. BUT, last time I checked, he came from the womb of his mother in a gawd-awful-painful-child-birthing scheme. Do you think her name shows up anywhere? And that is how it always goes. Maybe he had a tattoo. “Mom”

My guess is, people called him Leo. So that’s what I am running with. Anyway. He had his notebooks, and he was constantly jotting down ideas and possible designs. But his concepts were so intense — especially for that time — that they were nearly impossible. He “invented” things like a calculator, a flying machine, a helicopter, a parachute, a 3-barreled cannon, an “ideal” city, a “robotic” knight, and on and on. And on.

But that Leo. He was just a bit obsessed with the whole notion of flying. And from that, he conceptualized several different machines to do so over his years. On this day, though, the machine he tested required four men to supply rotor power. It did not work because the body of the machine itself rotated in the opposite direction to the rotor. Those pesky wrong-way rotations.

Many have theorized that da Vinci may have sabotaged his own tests of things. On the sly, in the dark of night, he impaired this particular flying machine. Only in the hopes that it would fail.

Most people don’t know that our good man Leo was a pacifist. And, he frequently spoke out against his designs being applied to military use. He believed his flying machines would surely be put to such use. So Tricky Leo. Pulling out the trusty Monkey Wrench.

Probably a good thing he had that vision. A good thing he didn’t let his designs hit the mainstream. If they had played out, Bonaparte would have been too short to see over the controls in the cockpit. “Napoleon Dies in Tragic Plane Crash.” And what about George Washington’s painting, crossing the Delaware? They could have just taken the helicopter over. And what about Dayton being the Home of Flight?

Well. Thanks to Leonardo. It all came out just Wright.


“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
― Nikola Tesla


“I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention . . . arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.”
― Agatha Christie, An Autobiography


“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
― Elbert Hubbard