The reality is no less exciting. He was trained in Florence in the 1470s. During that time, workshops of the major artists included art in every kind of medium and tasks we would now consider engineering.
These artist-engineers were employed to produce a wide range of practical machines such as Leonardo's ingenious designs for the sluices of lock gates.
Leading engineers of that time were more focused on visionary designs. The "visual boasting" was aimed to make an impression on prospective or actual employers. Many of Leonardo's most famous designs fall into this category, such as the "tank", designed to shoot across the battlefield.
Other famous designs have been misread. The "helicopter" or airscrew is a device of technological entertainment. The same applies to the spring-driven "car".
Leonardo's genius as an engineer rests on three foundations.
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