Front: Leonardo daVinci's File-Making Machine, c. 1490. Ambrosiana, Milan. Pen, ink and wash.
Leonardo's file-making machine epitomized two ideas that are central to the process of automation. It embodied methods of automated production and quality control, all in a single elegant device.
In Leonardo's File-Making Machine, a weighted rope, suspended and unwinding from an axis, powers the hammer. The same axis and weight turns a large geared wheel and threaded shaft. The threaded shaft moves an anvil and file blank along in a smooth, continuous motion as the hammer swings. The hammer uniformly scores the file blank each time it lands a blow.
The File-Making Machine speaks to us of Leonardo's creativity and genius. It speaks of the virtues of science, engineering and design. It reminds us that the simplest ideas can change the world.
Schema: This site is a help system in itself: the medium is the message. It's one format of a cross-browser web-based help system. We used framesets and DHTML, both custom and automated from MacroMedia®.(originally eHelp). RoboHelp and RoboHtml provide the structure and navigation. We also use most of the Tools and Clever Devices listed in the Tools section, and we can rebuild this entire site with a completely different visual theme and functionality in the time it takes to make your breakfast toast.
Navigation: Tabbed buttons in the top frame provide groupings of major topics, and on the left is a hierarchical navigation window. You can access all of the pages and files here by way of the Table of Contents. The navigation window provides an Index and a Full-Text Search window. This is one example of context-sensitive help on an html platform. You might also notice the floating navigation links in the bottom-right corner.
We Hope to submit some ideas and helpful tools to developers, web designers and help authors. While our contribution is not near the significance of anything contributed by Mr. DaVinci, we offer them in the same spirit of exploration and discovery. Leanardo however, for good reasons of his own, was inclined to share his ideas with only the rich and powerful.
That's why we're not writing backwards…
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