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Leonardo's Miter Gate
Languedoc Canal
Caledonian Canal
Panama Canal Zone

Leonardo's Miter Gate

Leonardo's Gate Design
Leonardo's Canal Lock

Centuries of Civil Engineering

Zonca, Vittorio (b. ca. 1580)
Novo teatro di machine et edificii per varie et sicure operationi.
Padova: Pietro Bertelli, 1607.
Water Supply
Image Index


Leonardo wrote a note in his manuscript collection of papers known as the Codex Atlanticus about the walls and foundations of the lock at San Marco:

"The lock of San Marco is of masonry on piles. The floor of the whole lock rests on a bed of gravel and lime, which, while still soft, was covered with crossbeams of green wood whose heads were buried in the same mortar. The other sides were laid close and spiked. In addition, the crossbeams were framed and nailed to the spikes."

Whether the Italian engineer Zonca ever read this note or not, he certainly was aware of Leonardo's design for the lock. The engraving of a canal lock in Zonca's book, which describes and illustrates a host of mechanical achievements of his time, provides a realistic interpretation of Leonardo's design. Three small boats are ready to leave the lock, an oval shaped brick basin, just as the miter gate is opened by workmen straining at the windlasses. The miter gate follows Leonardo's design, but Zonca also showed a single-leaf gate at the other end of the lock.


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