The world’s greatest inventions have been contributed by the Egyptians and by the Chinese. There are so many inventions whose origin is traced back to China. Most of the Chinese inventions are still useful up to date, while others have been improved for efficiency. Ancient inventions that were first invented by Chinese date back to thousand of years. There is generally no other ancient inventions that have contributed to the development of the world and the progress of humans other than the Chinese ones. The ancient Chinese inventions and innovations have brought a great turnover to the world, even particularly to today’s life in the 21st century. The far-reaching Chinese contribution or the best ancient Chinese inventions include the compass, gunpowder, acupuncture, paper currency, silk, porcelain, kites, and umbrella.
Civilization was developed and spread greatly due to the invention of paper. The ancient writing surfaces before the invention of the paper included the tortoise shells, bones, and bamboo slips. The bulky nature of the materials led to the need of inventing a more suitable writing material. Paper was thus invented by a eunuch, Cai Lun, in 105 AD during the Eastern Han Dynasty. Paper money was invented in the 9th century AD after paper was invented. The very firs name for paper money was “flying money”, due to its light weight that facilitated it to be blown away from the hand by wind. The Song government dominated the art of printing money in the year 1024. The money as well as metal coins were used as a medium of exchange, remaining to be the most popular medium of exchange up to date.
The Chinese scientists discovered the gunpowder in 200 AD through the combination of charcoal, sulfur, and saltpeter. The Chinese refer to gunpowder as “huo yao” and the used it during the Tang Dynasty in the military around the year 900’s (Miles, 2000). They developed new weapons using the gunpowder, such as rockets launched from a bamboo tube.
Around 500 BC, the Chinese discovered a device which they referred to as a “Si Nan” and it apparently became the forerunner of the compass. It was made up of tiny needles that were made of magnetized steels (Benn, 2002). Based on the knowledge that magnetite aligns itself in a north/south position, the ladle like magnet on the plate where the handle of the ladle pointed south and the other part pointed north, was invented (Amir, 2002). The Chinese introduced the compass to Europe in the 14th century for use.
Silk was discovered around 2700 BC by Empress Si Ling Chi, when a cocoon of a silkworm moth fell into her tea from a mulberry tree (Laura, 2007). She carried out some experiments on the same and was later able to weave a piece of fabric from a silk filament. The silk making process, also known as sericulture, is still the same as in the time of its invention, where cocoons are placed in hot water to release the silk filament and in turn kill the larvae of the silkworm. Silk was probably China’s most valuable trade commodity with its government keeping the silk making process as a secret, until it leaked to India in 300AD.
Acupuncture is China’s invention whose origin is based in the clan commune period that was characterized by primitive society and clan commune. This is basically Chinese medicinal practice when needles are inserted into various specified areas of the body with the primary design of relieving pain (Greenberger, 2006).
The umbrella was discovered by the wife of a man named Luban about 3500 years ago. This invention came as a result of an attempt to cover her hardworking husband. Later on Luban himself through the inspiration of his wife invented the first ever umbrella by covering a flexible made framework with a cloth.
Porcelain was invented in the Sui Dynasty and perfected by Tao-Yue in the Tang Dynasty (618-906). The Chinese porcelain was highly prized and was made from a certain type of ceramic that is obtained only under very high temperatures of a kiln (Benn, 2002).
A kite was invented in the5th century BC by Lu Ban, a philosopher and an engineer. He created a wooden bird that apparently to his surprise remained flying in the air for three consecutive days. Kites were used as rescue signals during the period that Nanjing city was besieged.
The four most ingenious China ancient inventions are the gunpowder, paper currency, compass, and silk. Paper is probably the most innovative invention that replaced the expensive and rather bulky bamboo strips, silk strips, and wet clay tablets. The paper currency is thus very important in the survival of human beings, as it is used as a medium of exchange.
The gunpowder is also very important for human beings. It is a very essential invention that made China to have an upper hand against her enemies in war with the improved gunpowder weaponry. The compass is also a very important invention among the Chinese inventions. The compass was very essential as it acted as a guide for travelers and the military in war, thus being an advantage to the Chinese. The ancient compass was used as a basis for the construction of the modern day compass, which is very useful in many activities. Silk is also a very important invention of the Chinese. It was a monopoly of China that boosted its economy for a very long time until the formula of making it leaked to India (Laura, 2007).
The most essential invention that one cannot live without is probably the paper currency. It is very useful in our daily activities and is the anchor of all economic activities in the present world. It is thus appropriate to state that the paper currency is the greatest ancient China invention of all times.