Historians stipulate that it was Leonardo da Vinci’s fascination with flight that inspired him to innovate the anemometer, an instrument for measuring the speed of wind. His hope was that, eventually, the device could be used to give people insight into the direction of the wind before attempting flight.
While da Vinci did not actually invent the device, he did make variations on the existing designed originated by Leon Batista in 1450 (da Vinci’s design was probably made between 1483 and 1486) so that it was easier to measure wind force.
Next to his sketches of the anemometer, da Vinci made the following notes: "For measuring distance traversed per hour with the force of the wind. Here a clock for showing time is required."
Da Vinci’s anemometer has an arched frame with a rectangular piece of wood hanging in the center by a hinge. When the wind blows, it raises the piece of wood inside the arched frame. Printed on the frame would be a scale. By noting the highest point that the wood reached on the scale, a person could measure the force of the wind.