The Inventive Gondola

On a recent trip to Venice I learnt a little about the design of the gondola and was delighted to discover that it displays a number of TRIZ inventive principles.


The hull of the gondola is asymmetric (Inventive Principle #4) in order to counteract the asymmetric force of the single oar (the rèmo). Further asymmetry in the hull shape ensures that the gondola floats upright even though the gondolier stands on one side of the vessel – indeed, with nobody aboard a gondola takes on a distinct list to starboard – an example of prior counter-action (Inventive Principle #9).

gondola 2

Similarly the weight of the distinctive metal fèrro at the bow helps to counteract the weight of the gondolier at the stern – an example of both prior counteraction and also equipotentiality (Inventive Principle #12).
I was also intrigued by the complex shape of the gondola’s rowlock (the fórcola) which provides for as many as eight different rowing positions for the oar – a form of universality (Inventive Principle #6).

So, should you ever find yourself taking a romatic gondola ride along the canals of Venice, don’t forget your Inventive Principles!

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