Chinese Inventions

Chinese Inventions and Discoveries
History Alive Chapter 18
 The Chinese invented many things,
especially in the years between 200 and
1400 C.E.
 The Chinese excelled in engineering,
mathematics, science and medicine often
discovering and inventing things far beyond
Europe and other parts of the world.
 These advances were in exploration and
travel, industry, military technology,
everyday objects, and disease prevention.
 These discoveries will help people across the
world as cultural diffusion and trade bring
them out of China.
 Several Chinese inventions made exploration
and travel safer and faster.
 The Chinese were the first to invent the
compass, around 3 B.C.E.
 Allowed for long sea voyagers, because you knew
what direction you were going in.
 Made water tight ship compartments.
 Other innovations benefited traders or
improved travel on rivers, lakes, canals, and
bridges inside of China.
 Invented the paddle wheel boat, which was
much faster than paddling a boat.
 Created canal locks to raise and lower water
 Invented segmental arch bridge which was
stronger and cheaper to build.
 Europe did not learn how to make paper until
approximately 1100 C.E., the Chinese invented paper
in 2 C.E.
 In the 7th century C.E. the Chinese started doing
woodblock printing.
 This is when you carve wood to have raised text, images,
or characters dip them in ink and press it to a piece of
 This was improved in 1100 C.E. by creating movable
type. Before whole words were carved into wood as
opposed to letters.
 Europe develops this in the 1400s C.E. it is the standard for
printing for nearly 600 years.
 The Chinese invented Porcelain, which is a fine pottery
that Europe did not learn how to make until the 1800s.
Fine dinnerware is still known as “china” today.
 The Chinese also were the first to start creating steel,
there discoveries made the mass production of steel
much easier and cheaper.
 Developed the crossbow.
 In 850 C.E., the Chinese invented
gunpowder, which would revolutionize
 First weapon was created in the 10th century,
the flamethrower.
 Between the 11th and 14th centuries,
exploding shells, grenades, rifles, and
 Also developed rocket launchers.
 These would fire several arrows at a time,
often exploding on impact with the enemy.
 Playing cards
 Invented around the 9th century.
 Made of thick paper; famous artists would draw
designs for the back.
 Paper money
 A combination of a lack of copper and the need
for an easier way to carry money created paper
money in the late 8th or early 9th centuries C.E.
 Worthless, unless backed by something worth
 Mechanical clock
 First mechanical clock was a wheel that would
rotate fully in 24 hours.
 Was powered by tripping water.
 Every 15 minutes drums would beat, and every
hour a bell would chime.
 Before 1 C.E. the Chinese were thinking of
ways to fight infectious diseases.
 If someone died of an infectious disease, the
Chinese burned a chemical that gave off a
poisonous smoke. They believed this would
destroy what was causing the disease.
 This smoke was a disinfectant.
 During the Song dynasty, the Chinese began
steaming the clothes of sick people.
 Hot temperatures kill many germs.
 Around the 10th Century C.E., the Chinese
started inoculating people against smallpox.
 This is when you expose a person to a small
amount of the disease to build up their immune
system to it.
 This is the same idea as vaccines or flu shots
Work Cited
History Alive! Medieval World and Beyond.

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