Ancient China undoubtedly holds leading positions in a number of scientific fields. Other than the four great inventions including the compass, gunpowder, printing, and papermaking, Ancient China contributed many other inventions to the world.
Following are some of the amazing Ancient Chinese inventions that were way ahead of their time:
- Paper Making 105 A.C
For civilization., the invention of paper has been critical. After all, without paper, it would not have been possible to convey any form of information. if the paper had never been invented, it would have been impossible to store information and pass it down to new generations.
Even though the paper had existed already in China since 105 A.C, significant innovation was made by Cai Lun and played a critical role in driving its adoption. With time, his advanced and sophisticated paper-making technology spread to even Central Asia. In order to reach other countries, Silk Road was considered and used.
- Movable Type Printing
In the Tang Dynasty, woodblock printing was used widely. It is, however, important to note that this type of printing technology was not only time-consuming but also quite costly. It was in the Song Dynasty that movable type printing was invented.
A scientist named Bi Sheng contributed to the invention of movable type printing as he enabled it to be easier and quicker. For instance, first of all, he carved individual characters on clay pieces before hardening them with fire. Later on, these movable pieces were glued and fixed to an iron plate for printing a page. It would then be broken and again distributed to another page.
This type of printing technology quickly spread across the world, especially in Europe, which led to the period of the Renaissance. Eventually, it reached all other parts of the world.
It was around 1000 A.D when Chinese Taoist alchemists invented gunpowder when they attempted to identify a potion to acquire human immortality. They mixed saltpeter, charcoal, and sulfur, which accidentally resulted in the development of gunpowder.
It is generally believed that it was during the Mongol expansion that gunpowder spread to Europe. This discovery was used by the Chinese for firecrackers. On the other hand, this discovery was considered and utilized by the Europeans for the development and creation of guns and cannons. It eventually led to the domination of China during the nineteenth century.
We all know that a compass is a navigational instrument that is often used for identifying and even showing directions. What, however, you may not have known is that the compass itself was invented between the 1st Century AD and the 2nd Century BC by the Chinese. It is worth noting it was first utilized in Fend Shui.
Gradually, as time passed, navigational compasses were developed and their use became quite common in Chinese ships. The use of these compasses allowed them to navigate without experiencing any issues and problems.
It is believed that Arab traders sailing to China might have learned of the technology and brought it to the Western nations.
There is no doubt that the inhabitants or people of the Arabian Peninsula were recognized as the first brewers. In 2013, however, 9000-year-old pottery was identified or found in the Henan province. It indicated and revealed the prevalence of alcohol in China.
In Chinese people, alcohol is recognized as Jiu and it is often utilized as a spiritual offering to the Earth and or Heaven in ancient China. Different studies indicate that in ancient China, beer with an alcoholic content of approximately 5 percent was consumed widely and it was mentioned widely on oracle bone inscriptions. These inscriptions were often found and identified in the Shang Dynasty.
- Mechanical Clock
You will be surprised to know that the first mechanical clock in the world was invented or developed by Yi Xing. It is important to note that Yi Xing was a Buddhist monk who invented the clock in 725 A.D.
In addition to it, this mechanical clock was operated specifically by dripping water that powered a wheel. This wheel made a complete revolution in approximately 24 hours. After a few hundred years, Su Song, an inventory, focused on the development of a sophisticated clock. This clock was referred to as the Cosmic Empire and it was created in 1092. This time was around 200 years earlier before the mechanical clock was developed or created in Europe.
- Tea Production
In accordance with an old Chinese legend, Shennong was the first person to identify and discover tea. Shennong was considered the Chinese Father of Agriculture. In addition to it, in the Tang Dynasty, tea became quite a popular drink that was enjoyed by almost all social classes.
You will be surprised to know that The Book of Tea or Cha Jing was written by Lu Yu and it described different ways or methods of tea-drinking, cultivating tea, and even various classifications of tea in a comprehensive manner.
The book was recognized as the first monograph about tea in the world. Moreover, the largest and oldest living tea tree in the world can be found in China, specifically Lin Cang. The tree itself is around 3,200 years old.
Silk is one of the oldest fibers in the world and it originated in China around 6,000 years ago. It is worth noting that the earliest evidence relating to silk was discovered and identified at the Yangshao culture site in the Shanxi Province of China. In the province, a silk cocoon was found to be cut in half. It dated back to around 3000-4000 BC.
Actually, Chinese people focused on the mastery of sophisticated silk weaving technology. For the acquisition of the silk, the West had to pay gold of equivalent worth. In Ancient China, silk was considered quite important and it was developed in China. In fact, more several centuries, businessmen used to consider and transport silk as a precious item to the West from China. It resulted in the development or creation of the renowned Silk Road.
When it comes to an umbrella, it is surprising to realize that it can be traced back as early as around 3500 years ago in China. It is conveyed by legends that Lu Ban, a Chinese inventor and carpenter, was responsible for the development of the very first umbrella.
The invention of the umbrella was inspired by children who used lotus leaves as rain shelters. Thus, Lu Ban developed an umbrella that used quite a flexible framework and it was then covered by a cloth for sheltering from the sunlight.
“Neijing” is the oldest Chinese medicine book and it is also recognized as The Classic of Internal Medicine of the Yellow Emperor. The book indicates that acupuncture was utilized widely as a therapy in China even prior to the time when it was written and included in the book.
In addition to it, different types of acupuncture needles were identified and found in the tomb of Prince Liu Sheng. Prince Liu Sheng was documented to have died around 200 B.C. It is further proof that the technique of acupuncture was already in use in the nation around two hundred years ago.
- Iron Smelting
It has been revealed by archaeological evidence that the technology of iron smelting was invented in China around the 5th century BC. It was developed during the Zhou Dynasty and during the periods of The Spring & Autumn and the Warring States, China underwent a flourishing period with respect to iron smelting.
In addition to it, during the Han Dynasty, iron smelting was monopolized by the central government which resulted in some significant progress.
Porcelain is undoubtedly one of the great inventions to emerge from Ancient China. It was in the Shang Dynasty that the earliest porcelain was created and it was further matured in the Tang Dynasty. In addition to it, during the Song Dynasty, the technology of porcelain production reached an unprecedented height because of its concentration and focus on shape and even the tactile experiences of the glaze.
In the world, Chinese porcelain was prized highly and a number of artworks had been introduced to the West. This introduction took place through the Silk Road.
- Earthquake Detector
In accordance with the court records that were identified and found in the Han Dynasty, an effective seismograph was developed and invented by Zhang Heng. This invention took place in 132 AD.
It should be noted that its function was concerned with determining and identifying the direction of an earthquake.
Furthermore, in 138 AD, this took indicated an earthquake taking place in Longxi, only a thousand kilometers away. You will be surprised to know that it was the very first time in mankind that an earthquake was detected. It was in 1848 that modern seismographs were developed in Europe.
Actually, China is recognized as the hometown of rockets. It is worth noting that rockets were created by inventors in Ancient China through the application of counter-force developed or produced by ignited gunpowder.
In accordance with history, the Wei State in 228 A.D. already utilized torches that were attached to arrows for guarding Chencang against the troops of the Shu State.
With time, gunpowder was adapted by the Song Dynasty for making effective rockets. Furthermore, a paper tube that is stuffed with gunpowder was specifically attached to an arrow that could be launched using a bow.
These kinds of ancient rockets and even their improved versions were utilized widely in different entertainment and military activities in China.
It is worth noting that the skill of producing bronze was comprehended and even mastered by 1700 B.C. by the ancient Chinese people. China was brought by the Zhou and Shang Dynasties into the Bronze Age. In addition to it, the making of bronze wares even reached its peak in this specific period.
Actually, bronze was utilized mainly for the production of ritual vessels, bronze tools, and weapons. In comparison with counterparts in several other regions across the world, the bronze wares of China tend to stand out for their delicate decorative patterns and their inscriptions.
- The Seed Drill
Another important invention to emerge from China is the seed drill. It is a drive that is capable of planting the seed into the soil at a consistent and uniform depth. At the same time, the tool even covers it.
If this device had not been invented, device farmers would have been required to plant seeds by hand which would have resulted in uneven growth and even waste.
In accordance with the Chinese records, the use of the seed drill can be dated back to specifically the 2nd century BC.
There is no doubt that the device made it quite easy for farmers to plant seeds. In addition to it, the device contributed significantly to the overall agricultural output in China.
Modern Chinese Inventions (1950-Present)
As far as modern Chinese inventions are concerned, there are a number of inventions that have been developed during the period of 1949 to the present. In 2013, scientists focused on the development of carbon aerogel which weighed approximately 0.16 mg/cc. it broke the record for being the lightest substance in the world.
It will be surprising for you to realize that electronic cigarettes also emerged in China. In fact, a Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik is credited with the invention and development of the modern electronic cigarette. He came up with the idea of utilizing a piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element in 2003 for vaporizing a pressurized jet of liquid that contained nicotine, effectively diluted in the solution of propylene glycol.
This design serves to produce a vapor that is like smoke, which can be inhaled and even offers a vehicle for the delivery of nicotine into the bloodstream through the lungs.
The passenger drone is yet another invention that has been developed in China. It is a drone with the capability of carrying human cargo. In 2016, Ehang 184 was introduced at the CES or Computer Electronics Show. In the future, its applications could be beneficial and limitless.