Drawn wire, created by pulling a ductile metal through a hard die, was manufactured in Europe from the 8th century.
Da Vinci and other Renaissance ingegnere wanted to measure the capacity of materials such as wire so they could use it economically and safely in engineering projects and develop new uses for it.
His wire-testing device measures the point at which wire breaks under the strain of sand poured into the ‘hopper’ it carries. The flow of sand is stopped when the wire breaks, and the sand in the hopper is weighed to determine the ‘dead-weight breaking strain’ of the wire - a measure still used today.
IMAGE: Breaking wire Photo: optimarc / Shutterstock.com