Institut de France

The Institut de France is located in Paris and has been recognized as a historical monument in Paris since 1862. This building was orginally built in the 17th century as the College des Quatre-Nation. Then in 1795, the Institut de France was created as an organization to help protect the French language. The Institut de France combines 5 academies such as the Academie Francaise and the Academie des inscriptions et belles-lettres. Leonardo da Vinci's aerial screw drawing in Manuscript B, Folio 83V is being preserved in Institut de France. However, it is difficult to visit this institution because it is rarely open to the public. In general, visitors are only welcome on the second Sunday of each month and group sizes are limited to just 30 people.


Aerial Screw. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Institut de France in Paris. (n.d.). Retrieved from 


Latitude: 48.857286200000
Longitude: 2.337127600000

Timeline of Events Associated with Institut de France

Date Event Manage
circa. 1500

Leonardo da Vinci Creates his Aerial Screw Drawing

In the late 1400s, Leonardo da Vinci created his aerial screw drawing in his notebook. Because da Vinci was so observant of nature and his surroundings, it is believed this design was partly based on his observations of the spinning of maple seeds as they fall to the ground. It also closely resembled Archimedes' screw used for irrigation purposes in 200 BC. This screw was used to move water from a canal or other water source to an area of higher ground. In order to power the aerial screw, four men, standing on the platform, are required to push the four wooden shafts in a circular motion. Da Vinci believed this would generate enough force to lift the machine into the air. He intended for the aerial screw to be made of reed, linen, and wire. Although he never created a physical model of this design, we now know that da Vinci's aerial screw would be too heavy to be lifted into the air. The force generated by the four men is not strong enough to overcome the strong pull of gravity from this heavy device. 

The aerial screw design is interesting because it contains no elements that resemble birds. Da Vinci realized wings enable birds to fly but wings are not required for flight. Ahead in his understanding of aerodynamics, da Vinci realized flight occurs due to the compression of air. He used this principle in his aerial screw design, which relies on the circular motion of the device compressing the air below and causing the top portion to lift.

Image Source:

Text Sources:

Capra, F. (2014). Learning from Leonardo: Decoding the notebooks of a genius.San Franciso: BK, Berrett-Koehler.

Foley, W. (1976). From da Vinci to the present—a review of airscrew theory for helicopters, propellers, windmills and engines.Paper presented at AIAA 9thFluid and Plasma Dynamics Conference, San Diego, CA.

Giacomelli, R. (1930). The aerodynamics of Leonardo da Vinci. The Journal of the Royal Aeronautical Society, 34(240), 1016-1038.

The Helicopter. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Leonardo da Vinci: The aerial screw. (2017). Retrieved from