LEONARDO da Vinci
(b. 1452, Vinci, d. 1519, Cloux, near Amboise)
Metalpoint, pen and brush on paper, 27 x 20 cm
Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan
Codex Atlanticus, fol. 812r.
The automobile that Leonardo attempted to power with a modified clockwork mechanism is one of his best-known inventions. It was not, however, an invention in the strict sense of the word, for other engineers before him had also made attempts to produce a self-powered vehicle. It is probable that Leonardo was familiar with these studies, though it is remarkable how intense Leonardo's research of this technical phenomenon was.