Ancient Chinese Inventions It is well known that China has an ancient and glorious history, from the feudal periods ending in 222 BC through the three Imperial and Intermediate Eras, up to the Modern era – over 4000 years of dynastic reigns. It may also be well known that China is the source of many wonderful and useful inventions from spaghetti to gunpowder. This list, however, will take a slightly different slant of the topic: Chinese inventions and developments that were not known to or adopted by the Western (European) world for many decades and sometimes centuries after they were common place in China.
Some you may be familiar with, others perhaps less so. First on the list is Row Planting, which is from Feudal period through 6 century BC. The Chinese begin planting crops in rows sometime around 6 century BC. This allows the crops to grow stronger and a lot faster. It allows more efficient planting, weeding, harvesting and watering. There is also proof documented that they realized that when the wind travels over rows of plants it causes less damage to the crop. This development was not introduced in the western world for another 2200 years.
A Chinese man by the name of Master Lu wrote in the “Spring and Autumn Annals”: If the crops are grown in rows they will mature rapidly because they will not interfere with each other’s growth. The vertical rows made for skill, the horizontal rows must be drawn well, for if the lines are straight the wind will pass gently through. Along with the above we have mechanical clock mechanisms. This was invented around 725 AD. This clock operated by dripping water that powered a wheel, which made one full revolution in 24 hours. A bronze and iron system of wheels and gears made the clock rotate.
Accurate mechanical clocks were developed because of a belief in the form of astrology. This was based upon the moment of conception rather than the time of birth. In ancient years retainers would listen outside of royal bedrooms to record the possible times of conception of royal children. This event was important enough that considerable effort was devoted to developing accurate timing mechanisms. Next on the list would be the compass, which was developed around Feudal period through 4th cent BC. The Chinese developed a lodestone instrument to ndicate direction which is known as the compass. Upon development the compass were only south pointing and were primarily use for land as divination tools and direct finders. It was written that lodestone makes iron come or it attracts it. Spoons were used to point the direction, while mounted on plates. The spoons were made from lodestone, while the plates were of bronze. Later in year of 1040 thermo-remanence needles were produced for mariners. The common use of this was recorded around year 1119. The thermo-remanence technology is still in use today.
Then we have deep drilling, the Chinese invented a tool used for deep drilling boreholes. This was invented around circa 202 BC through 220 AD. It is listed that some of these boreholes would reach the depths of 4800 feet. This technology would be easily recognizable to a modern engineer. The Chinese would stack rocks with center holes which were tube or doughnut shaped from the surface to the deep stone layer as a guide for their drills. In the search for salt wells the Chinese developed a technology of driving bamboo poles deep into the earth.
In addition to brine this drilling also often tapped into reservoirs of natural gas. The natural gas was captured in barrels and used as fuel to evaporate the water from brine to produce salt. They used the gas to boil sea water which separated the salt allowing it to become drinkable. The Chinese also invented gun powder; this was invented around 850 AD. An enterprising alchemist mixed 75 parts saltpeter with 15 parts charcoal and 10 parts sulfur. This mixture had no discernible life-lengthening properties, but it did explode with a flash and a bang when it was exposed to an open flame.
What is noted in text from the era is that smoke and flames result so that hand and faces have been burnt, and even the whole house where they were working burned down. Then we have something that is widely used and appreciated throughout countries, cities and societies, the commonly used paper. This was invented around 105 AD and was made from a suspension of hemp waste in water, washed, soaked and beaten with a wooden mallet. A paper mold, probably a sieve of coarsely woven cloth stretched in a four sided bamboo frame, was used to dip up the fiber slurry from the vat and hold it for drying.
Initially it was used for clothing rather than writing material. It was used to make body armor for soldiers. Now we have the ancient Chinese great unique invention of porcelain, which was invented around 16 century BC. In very ancient times the Chinese discovered that with the right choice of clay and firing techniques pottery could be made so thin that is was translucent. Such porcelain became universally known as china. Last but definitely not lease we have the known Chinese invention of a fabric that is soft to the skin. This fabric is called silk, which was invented around 3000 BC.
For more than two thousand years the Chinese kept the secret of silk altogether to themselves. It was the most zealously guarded secret in history. The Chinese discovered that the cocoons of silk worms could be unwound and the filaments used to weave an especially light strong and beautiful cloth. All of these inventions were invented by original everyday pioneers. The saying goes everyday people do extraordinary things. Out of all of these wonderful inventions that were discussed, the invention of silk, paper, row planting and the mechanical clock mechanism would be the choice of the most important.
Let’s briefly go over the reasons why these four would be the most important inventions. The invention of silk has paved the way for centuries of fabric wearers. In the ancient years a person could distinguish who was royalty by the silk garment that was worn. Silk is 100% natural fabric and is healthy for your breathing due to the fact that silk is naturally hypoallergenic. The invention of row planting allowed more efficient growth of produce for farming which allowed more and better food to sell and to eat.
The invention of the mechanical clock mechanism has evolved in time to be a much needed daily device called the clock. A clock is an instrument use to indicate, keep and coordinate time. A clock refers to any device for measuring and displaying time. This clock mechanism invention has involved into personal time keepers like a wrist watch, pocket watch etc. The invention of paper would be one of the best great inventions due to the fact that paper is used for everything in daily life. Paper was used to spread information that was on hand written letters. Paper is also used for drawings and painting.
Not to mention that paper is used for books, newspaper and lets not forgot paper is used for making what we all love to spend money. Of all of the inventions listed above if there were one invention that would be listed as a must have invention would be the invention of paper. The invention of paper has evolved into the making of paper money. Paper money consists of 1, 5, 10, 20 dollar bills and etc. Money is something generally accepted as a medium of exchange, a unit of account or a store of value. The first advantage to having money is that fact that stuff costs money. If you want things you have to have money to pay for them.
Vary rarely do people just give their stuff away, they want something for it and money is the universal trade item. You can trade money for almost anything in the world. If you want a lot of stuff you need to have a lot of money. We now know that we owe a whole lot to the ancient Chinese for inventing so many things that are of important value to our lives. Makes you wonder if they knew back then how important these inventions would become to be. References “About the Collection. ” About the Collection. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www. ipst. gatech. edu/amp/collection>. CHINESEA INVENTIONS. ” Chinese Inventions. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www. vhinkle. com/china/inventions. html>. “History of Silk. ” History of Silk. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www. silk-road. com/artl/silkhistory. shtml>. “Natural Gas Exploration. ” Natural Gas Exploration. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www. explorations. org/natural_gas_exploration_cont. html>. “Origin of Chinese Porcelain. ” Origin of Chinese Porcelain. N. p. , n. d. Web. 20 Aug. 2012. <http://www1. chinaculture. org/gb/en_artqa/2003-09/24/content_37884. htm>.
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