Ancient Chinese Inventions that changed the world

As you know, Chinese Inventions have made a great affect to the development of human culture and society. Especially the Ancient Chinese Inventions have changed the world.

Such as rocket ,which needed gunpowder to push on, used in the war; the compass used in Ocean sailing, which lead the America was found; paper marking and Movable type have made a extreme big contribution about the Inheritance and propagation of human history and culture. Obviously, there are too many to list. Thus, I chose some of the most important inventions among the Chinese Inventions to share.

Ancient Chinese Inventions

Ancient Chinese Inventions


Ancient Chinese Inventions Part1

(View more go to Chinese Inventions Videos )

Four Ancient Chinese Inventions

Big 4 Chinese Inventions

Big 4 Chinese Inventions


Chinese Taoist alchemists were the major force behind the early invention of gunpowder. Emperor Wu Di (156-87 B.C.) of the Han dynasty financed research done by the alchemists on the secrets of eternal life. The alchemists experimented with the sulphur and saltpeter heating the substances in order to transform them.

During the 8th century Tang dynasty, sulphur and saltpeter were first combined with charcoal to create an explosive called huoyao (Chinese pronunciation) or gunpowder.

The Chinese began experimenting with the gunpowder filled tubes. At some point, they attached bamboo tubes to arrows and launched them with bows. Soon they discovered that these gunpowder tubes could launch themselves just by the power produced from the escaping gas. The true rocket was born.

The Compass

The prototype of the modern compass is call magnetic compass. The magnetic compass is an old Chinese invention, probably first made in China during the Qin dynasty (221-206 B.C.). They designed the compass on a square slab which had markings for the cardinal points and the constellations. The pointing needle was a lodestone spoon-shaped device, with a handle that would always point south.

Between 850 and 1050 they seem to have become common as navigational devices on ships. People used the Magnetized needles to substitute the spoon-shaped lodestones. About 400 years later, Zheng He (1371-1435) made ocean voyages with compass, which maybe the compass first used in navigation.

Paper Making

In the Shang Dynasty (about 3,500 years before present), the Chinese had already have their own written characters, which were known as the “oracle bone” because the words were carved on animal’s bones or tortoise’s shell. During the Warring States Period, bamboo and wooden plates were instead of bones. Hui Shi, a philosopher flourished in the Warring States Period had to hire five carriages to carry bamboo and wooden plates which were all his “books” when he went abroad to teach.

In 105 AD, A high ranking official in the Eastern Han Dynasty, Cai Lun combined the knowledge of paper making in the past, invented a kind of cheap plant fiber paper, which was made of cortex, broken fishnets and cloths. Since then, paper has been popular among common people.

Movable type

During the Sui Dynasty, The difficulty was solved in the 11th century. A lettering worker, Bi Sheng spent 40 years to make type of the Chinese characters. He used lime cement as material, molded into square columns, carved a laterally reversed Chinese character on the bottom of one column, and then baked to hard in a furnace. These columns could be arranged according to the contents of the book to be printed, so the type could be reused unlimited times. This technique is the rudiment of modern printing.


More Chinese Inventions

Beside these ancient four big Chinese Inventions listed above, there also many funny and very useful inventions were invented by Chinese inventors. Just like paper money, Brandy and Whiskey, Matches, The Helicopter Rotor and the Propeller, decimal. Do you know Chinese invented them, and can you image how smart of the ancient Chinese people ?


Invent China-Chinese Inventions. is proudly powered by WordPress.
Theme "The Fundamentals of Graphic Design" by Arjuna
Icons by FamFamFam