Amazing Discoveries by the Ancient Chinese


The ancient Chinese are often credited for inventing many things that are still relevant until today. Aside from inventing the gun powder, printing, the compass, and papermaking the ancient Chinese civilization contributed several other inventions that changed the world. Let’s take a look at what these inventions are.

1. Paper Money in 9th Century AD

The ancient Chinese were the first people who developed paper money. These paper bills were initially used as privately issued bills of credit or exchange note. A merchant can deposit his cash in the capital in exchange for a paper certificate that he could trade for metal coins in other cities.

2. Paper Making

Paper is one of the inventions that changed the world. Apparently, paper already existed in China since 105 A.C but a eunuch named Cai Lun improved the papermaking technology of the Chinese and helped spread the papermaking technology throughout central Asia and the world.

3. Toothbrush

In 1498, the Chinese invented the toothbrush in 1498. They made it with coarse hairs that are attached to a bone or bamboo handles. The Europeans later adapted the technology.

4. Movable Type Printing

During the Tang Dynasty, woodblock printing was already a widely used technique in China but this printing process was expensive and time-consuming. Until a man named Bi-Sheng during the Song Dynasty invented the movable type printing. He made the printing process easier and quicker. His process was he individually carved the letters on pieces of clay and harden them using fire. These movable carved letters are glued together to an iron plate to print a page then they are broken up and arranged together for another page. This printing technique quickly spread across Europe which later led up to the Renaissance.

5. Row Crop Farming

While the farmers in other parts of the world scattered the seeds onto the fields randomly, the Ancient Chinese planted their crops in rows. They planted the seeds in rows so that it will reduce seed loss and make the crops grow faster and stronger. The row crop farming was not used in the western world until 2200 years later.

6. Gunpowder

In 1000 AD, the Chinese Taoist alchemists invented the gunpowder because they were trying to find a potion to reduce the population. They mixed charcoal, saltpeter, and elemental sulfur to make the gunpowder. And during the Mongol expansion in 1200-1300 AD, the use of gunpowder was adopted by the Europeans. But despite the fact that the inventors created gunpowder to gain human immortality, the Chinese mainly used the technology for creating firecrackers. It was the Europeans who created cannons and guns in the mid-1800s

7. The Seed Drill

The Chinese invented the seed drill which is a device that plants seeds into the soil at a uniform depth and covers it after. This helps the farmers to plant the seeds faster and saves them from planting the seeds by hand which cause waste and uneven growth. According to the records, the Chinese have been using the seed drill since 2nd century BC. The seed drill improved the agricultural output in China.

8. Compass

The Chinese invented the compass between 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. It was initially used in Feng Shui but by 1000 AD the compasses were used as a navigational instrument on Chinese ships to help them navigate through the seas. It is said that the Arab traders learned this technology in China and brought it to the West.

9. Kite

3,000 years ago the Chinese ancient developed the kite. During that time, the kites were made of wood and it was mainly used for military purposes like sending messages, testing the wind, measuring distances, and signaling.

10. Alcohol

It is widely believed that the people of the Arabian Peninsula were the first brewers of alcohol. But recent research showed thatthere is a 9000-year-old pottery that was found in Henan and it revealed that it has the presence of alcohol. In Chinese, alcohol is also known as Jiu and it is usually used during spiritual offerings to heaven and earth. Studies showed that beer with an alcohol content of 5 percent was widely consumed during the ancient times in China. It was even mentioned on an oracle bone inscriptions during the Shang Dynasty.

11. Bronze

The ability to produce bronze was mastered by the ancient Chinese during 1700 BC. The Zhou and the Shang dynasties brought China into the bronze age where the making of bronze wares reached its peak. Bronze was used to make ritual vessels, weapons, and tools. The Chinese bronze wares stand out from its counterparts in other countries because of their delicate decorative patterns and inscriptions

12. Mechanical Clock

The first mechanical clock was water-driven and it was invented by Yi Xing in 725 A.D. The clock was operated by water that powers the wheel which made one revolution every 24 hours.

13. Rocket

According to history books, the Wei State used torches that were attached to arrows to guard the Chencang against the invading troops in 228 AD. Later on, the Song Dynasty adapted the gunpowder to make rockets. These rockets have a paper tube that was attached to an arrow is filled with gunpowder and launched by bow. These rockets were improved and it became widely used in entertainment and military activities in China.

14. Tea Production

According to an old Chinese legend, Shennong the Chinese father of agriculturewas the first man to discover the tea. And during the Tang Dynast, it became a popular drink that was enjoyed by everyone from all social classes. The world’s largest and oldest living tree tea can be found in Lin Cang, China.

15. Porcelain

One of the greatest inventions of ancient China was the porcelain. The first porcelain emerged during the Shang dynasty. Chinese porcelain is highly prized throughout the world because of its sophistication and art.

16. Earthquake Detector

According to records, the first seismograph was invented by Zhang Heng in 132 AD. Its main function is to determine the direction of an earthquake. But in 138 AD, the seismograph detected an earthquake that was happening thousands of kilometers away.

17. Silk

Silk was discovered in China as early as 6,000 years ago. And silk is considered to be one of the oldest fibers in the world. Chinese people mastered the silk weaving process very carefully and they even kept the process a secret. During these times, silk was very important in China. And businessmen traded and transported silk from Chine to the West which eventually formed the famous Silk Road.

18. Iron Smelting

Iron Smelting was used and developed in China as early as the 5th century BC during the Zhou Dynasty. And in the Han Dynasty, the central government monopolized iron smelting.

19. Umbrella

Legends say that a Chinese carpenter named Lu Ban was the inventor of the umbrella. It was inspired by the children using lotus leaves as a rain shelter. Lu Ban created the umbrella by making a flexible framework that was covered by a cloth.

20. Acupuncture

Neijing, the oldest Chinese medicine book states that acupuncture was a popular therapy that was practiced in China much before the book was written. There were even different kinds of acupuncture needles that were found in the tomb of Prince Liu Sheng who died in 200 B.C.

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