ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ancient Chinese Innovations

Updated on May 5, 2012
A Picture From Ancient China
A Picture From Ancient China | Source

A Seat of Innovation

With history going all the way back before 2100 BC China boasts one of the oldest histories, however many people don't think about some of the amazing things that ancient China brought us. There are four big creations that people usually forget about, and then a plethora of other useful items that people use daily but never think about where they came from.

White Rice Paper with Gold Flecks.
White Rice Paper with Gold Flecks. | Source

Paper

If you ask most people where paper came from you would usually hear an answer about papyrus or the Egyptians, however having found paper fragments dating back to the second century BC, we know paper and the process of making paper via pulp was created in China. Interestingly enough, the process of making paper was traditionally thought to be created by the eunuch Cai Lun who was in the Han court during the second century AD, but these fragments put the correct date together. This would have increased the rate of information sharing by a vast amount, causing innovation to spread a lot faster.

Printing

After paper was made people would logically want to create letters and books faster, rather than copying them down by hand. Sometime before 868 - which is the year of the first dated book - the invention of Woodblock Printing came about. This would have led to an explosion in the speed in which books were printed. Woodblock printing was a lot more logical for the Chinese than movable type because of the writing style of the language. They did create movable type as well, but it did not move into popularity as it would in the western world. Printing on paper did not start for the western world until 1400 when paper became more available.

Gunpowder

Around the ninth century was when gunpowder was created by alchemists who were on a quest for the elixir of immortality. This of course was refined and by the 14thcentury was perfected. Along with this creation the Chinese started working on military applications of gunpowder, creating bombs and explosive round shots. This would lead to the Chinese having an upper hand in combat and trade for quite some time.

Man With Loaded Gunpowder Rocket
Man With Loaded Gunpowder Rocket
South Pointing Fish, Original Water Compass
South Pointing Fish, Original Water Compass

The Compass

The problem of getting lost was a big problem. In the dark, without stars or the sun it is easy to not know which direction you are traveling. In a Song Dynasty book from 1040-1044 there is a curious description of an iron item in a bowl of water which was magnetized and pointed south. This was promptly used to find the way at night when the sun and stars were not visible. The interesting thing is that this kind of water compass was the popular kind of compass because the dry compass was by suspension, had a wooden frame, and had a piece of iron covered with wax which would always point north.

And More...

These are the largest inventions, though there were many others that China can boast. Do you know where your fork originated? China. The noodles that are so easily grabbed with such a fork originate from China as well. Many instruments have been attributed to ancient China as well such as the drum and bell, and a lot of food cultivation methods as well. The next time you read a book, have noodles, or use a compass think about what marvels the ancient Chinese came up with and see if you can come up with any of your own!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Danieljohnston profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Johnston 

      6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      You're welcome and thank you. I was trying to make it shorter than I am used to writing for a history article so that it would be more readable for everyone. I usually write much larger research papers, so I was worrying about condensing it so much.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      While I knew most of those things already, it was nice to have the facts presented so engagingly.

      Thanks.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)