What made Leonardo da Vinci such a great artist was also what made him such a great inventor: his fascination with the world around him. This was the case with water. In his lifetime, da Vinci designed many inventions dealing with water – perhaps, most notably, scuba gear.
While working in Venice, the "water city", in 1500, da Vinci designed his scuba gear for sneak attacks on enemy ships from underwater. The leather diving suit was equipped with a bag-like mask that went over the diver’s head. Attached to the mask around the nose area were two cane tubes that led up to a cork diving bell floating on the surface.
Air was provided from the opening of the tubes to the diver below. The mask also was equipped with a valve-operated balloon that could be inflated or deflated, so the diver could more easily surface or sink. Additionally, Leonardo da Vinci’s scuba gear invention incorporated a pouch for the diver to urinate in.
Da Vinci’s idea for Scuba gear (like many of his invention ideas) didn’t actually become well-known until his famous Codex Atlanticus, a twelve-volume set of his drawings and notes, was published after his death.