The First Futurist

Leonardo da Vinci thought about some really cool machines, which he recorded in a number of journals. From flying machines and war machines to water and land machines he was so far ahead of his time that many of his inventions would not be built until the 20th century.

Remember, Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 and died in 1519, so he was inventing things some 500 years before they could ever be built.

So let's take a look at how he saw the future, shall we?

da Vinci saw a ornithopter in our future which looks a lot like those early Wright Brothers planes that flew overhead in the late 19th century.

He envisioned the aerial screw or helicopter which wouldn't be built until the 20th century. He based his designs on the flight of bats and birds.

The tank wouldn't get here until the beginning of World War I in the early 20th century.

What da Vinci called a 33- barreled organ, or what we call a machine gun, arrived during the U.S. civil war and made gangster movies worth watching in the 20th century.

What about scuba gear, you ask? That's another machine our inveterate Italian thought about. Thinking of breathing underwater makes me wonder where he came up with that? In nature, watching fish or frogs.

He also put mobile bridges on paper which were heavily used in World War II.

Last but not least, is the self-propelled cart, or CAR. What? Some guy 500 years before there was a bunch of steam engines chugging around the landscape came up with the idea of a car.

What kinds of inventions can you imagine that we might create in the future? Think about things that may take 500 years to produce?

What, in nature, would we like to emulate? Scuba? Why not breathing underwater? Can we create a way to oxygenate the blood without air?

How about physics? Will we travel faster than light?

Will we live on other planets?

How will we accomplish those things?


  1. It's interesting to know that Leonardo Da Vinci was such a futuristic creator. His mind was that of someone living in a different time where cars, machine guns, and scuba gear were possible. It's kind of sad to think that he would never get to see his inventions in action because they were built five hundred years later. It leads me to wonder what will be created five hundred years from now. Maybe everything will be automated and manual labor will cease to be necessary,things will be done with the push of buttons and the monitoring of screens. Maybe we'll be able to explore another galaxy, assuming that we ever find our way out of this one. Maybe we'll find other life forms on other planets that we will finally be able to travel to. Five hundred years is a long time, it's obvious that things will change, it's just impossible to know just how much.
    ---Sammy Rehman

  2. Its pretty crazy to think that one guy coming up with these inventions that pretty sure many people in that time period thought he was crazy to come up with. For him to actually create these things in technology that we see today as funny looking or hard to believe that it worked, but for back then, pretty sure it was seen as something brought in from the future. If some guy made things that we use today that was created 500 years ago, then imagine how far we will come 500 more years in the future. Only time can tell.

  3. Da Vinci was certainly way ahead of his time. I imagine at his time that his ideas were the thing of science fiction but today they are reality. What if Leonardo da Vinci was able to build working models of his invention? Just think of how far ahead we would be in the world of science. On the other hand, the world Leonardo lived in probably would have gone to war to obtain these machines because they would be able to rule the world with that power. It’s interesting to think what could have happened in the past if events were a little different, but we live in the world we live in and this wonder just leads to fun story- telling, but thanks to da Vinci we are living in a technologically advanced world.

  4. Leonardo Da Vinci has always been a source of inspiration for me because he was not only a genius, but extremely versatile. I have always admired his many talents and interests, and how well he thrived at each one. He was the perfect description of a “Renaissance Man”, because he was knowledgeable in many different fields. His curiosity and desire to learn and explore made him truly unique. He was interested in science and anatomy, dissecting cadavers to make observations about the human body, many of his findings re the base of what we know today. He studied nature in many different settings, and used nature’s designs as inspiration for many of his ideas and inventions, because evolution proved those traits and qualities to be effective. He studied and understood physics to a level where he could design and create his own inventions, which could realistically function. One of the other unique and amazing qualities of Da Vinci was his artistic skill. He was incredibly talented, and created some of the most famous and valued paintings, but he also was able to use that artistic skill to explain and visualize his inventions and ideas. Da Vinci was revolutionary because he married art and science perfectly, showed that one could excel at both extremes. He was the perfect combination of logic and emotion, passion and reason, imagination, and realism. He is an inspiration to me as a nursing student who loves art, that I too can excel at both. I think he should be an inspiration to everyone because his curiosity and desire to learn is what propelled his studies and inventions. If we all looked at life through his eyes, constantly exploring, and seeing everything as a piece of art, we too could create and discover things way ahead of our time.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I love retro-futurism; the past interpretations of what future technologies would be like. Da Vinci's designs, even though they were so far ahead of their time, were also in a way of their time, which is fascinating to look at. It's like putting our current technologies, products of our time, through a retro-filter. For example, da Vinci's inventions look like they're mostly created from wood. He couldn't imagine plastics, combustion engines, or any of the technologies we take for granted today. So he ended up with the admittedly laughable equivalent of a car, which is just a wooden cart propelled by wound-up springs. This is probably the most extreme form of retro-futurism, with ideas coming centuries before their realization (hats off to them for coming up with it). But Star Trek also has its goofy cell-phone equivalents, and let's not forgot the 50s idea of robots and VTOLs. Futuristic designs from the past may not be of much practical use today, but they're fun to look at, and insightful of the era's limitations and inventiveness.

  8. I think that Da Vinci's way of thinking was really interesting and as well as really sad at the same time. The reason of really interesting of course is that how was he able to think of all these things before they could even be invented like hundreds of years later or how did he know that maybe one day it could be possible to do so that really blows my mind and is why he is so respected so much by many people even hundred of years later when he's already dead. The reason i said sad is because he didn't get the chance to see how we took his ideas and made them way better but it wouldn't have happen without him also i think that he would be more than happy to see that his inventions but more upgraded have made peoples lives more than say but also fun. I'm not an inventor i really don't have ideas that will make our lives better.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What Superpower Would You Choose?

Ancient Rome: When Being a Teen was Tough

Marxist Literary Theory Made Easy