Da Vinci's Cannons

Leonardo Da Vinci was living in a world engulfed in war, having been born just after the Hundred Year's War, and living through the beginning of the Spanish Italian Wars in 1494. As a self-proclaimed weapons designer, Da Vinci was fascinated with improving upon and developing new ways to destroy an enemy. In his notebooks, there are over 10 designs for different siege weapons, cannons, and guns, many of which are reproduced and on display in Italy, designed from the original sketches in the Codex Atlanticus. Such weapons include his three-barreled cannon, 33-barreled organ, and his varieties of elevating gear cannons.  The primary focus of these weapons was to inflict as much damage possible through a machine that was easier to operate and more effective than previous light artillery of the time. For example, the Da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology describes his triple barrel cannon as being, "...a different specimen of light artillery: the gun carriage is easy to handle and it has three front-load guns. To improve firing accuracy, the three guns can be adjusted in height by means of a peg mechanism. (The Collection of Models)" This type of adjustment and agility is revolutionary in that it allows the user to not only fire 3 shots at once, but also be able to precisely aim without a team of multiple men. His two very similar single barrel cannon designs also involve a precise aiming system of either pegs or screws.


John. “Bensozia.” Leonardo's Cannon, 1 Jan. 1970, benedante.blogspot.com/2011/06/leonardos-cannon.html.

in History, Technology | April 7th, 2016 3 Comments. “Leonardo da Vinci Draws Designs of Future War Machines: Tanks, Machine Guns & More.” Open Culture, www.openculture.com/2016/04/leonardo-da-vinci-draws-designs-of-future-wa....

“Triple Barrel Canon.” Leonardo da Vinci's Triple Barrel Canon Invention, www.da-vinci-inventions.com/triple-barrel-canon.aspx.

“The collection of models.” The collection of models - museoscienza, www.museoscienza.org/english/leonardo/models/.

Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1478 to circa. 1519