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8 Great Chinese Inventions You’re Using Every Single Day

Did you know that there are some Chinese inventions you’re using every single day?

You probably heard about The Four Great Inventions of Ancient China, meaning gunpowder, papermaking, the compass, and printing, but the list of magnificent Chinese inventions doesn’t stop here.

In today’s world, the majority of things we find online or in small shops are made in China, from toys to napkins, clothes, shoes, and accessories, among many others. The brilliance and innovation we see in China today stretches back to a history that is rich and genius.

In fact, the giant and smart country has created some of the most stunning and significant inventions that the world couldn’t have lived without. If we really think about it, these Chinese inventions have shaped the course of humanity because things would’ve been totally different without them.

From groundbreaking discoveries in technology and science to great developments in communication, let’s take a look at 8 of the most important Chinese inventions that we use every single day.

Chinese inventions
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1. Gunpowder

We start off this list of Chinese inventions with gunpowder, because this is one of the things that completely changed the face of warfare. During the Tang Dynasty, around the 9th century, these smart men invented gunpowder, which was a strong mix of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate that flares up with a bang when it’s exposed to flame.

This potent thing was originally invented for medicinal purposes, mainly influenced by the thought that it could lead to immortality. However, although they thought that this miraculous powder could help them live forever, they realized that it actually had destructive potential.

They still believed that gunpowder was one of their greatest Chinese inventions, so they soon discovered that they could use it in the development of cannons, explosive devices, and firearms, which was the first step in transforming warfare and military tactics forever.

2. Paper money

Did you know that another one of these Chinese inventions was paper money? Around the 7th century CE, during the Song Dynasty, Chinese people decided to do something to stop the pain of carrying heavy copper coins on them all the time.

So they thought about the idea of using paper money to create a new form of exchange. At first, it was issued by private merchants, but when people noticed how easy it was to use, paper money became the new thing.

When the government saw that, they decided to take over production and implement a standardized system. Thanks to this new invention, many things have changed, including trade and economic transactions, and it also laid the foundation for what was going to be the modern banking system.

As you can see, these Chinese inventions really contributed to the things that are important to all of us. For instance, in this case, paper money marked a major milestone in the evolution of currency, and we couldn’t be happier.

3. Silk production

Another one of these impressive Chinese inventions that has shaped today’s world is silk production. It originated in ancient China around 2700 BCE, after the silkworm was discovered and people saw that it could produce fine threads.

The Chinese were happy with this opportunity, so they took care of and domesticated the silkworms, carefully taking the silk out of their cocoons. They didn’t want people from other parts of the world to know about silk production, so they monopolized the entire process and kept it secret for many centuries.

The legend says that people from different parts of the world wanted to know the secret of silk production, so they sent two monks to discover the mystery. They used a bamboo pole to hide silkworm eggs and smuggle them out of China. Even though they were closely guarded by Chinese officials, none of them thought about checking the pole.

The monks succeeded in their mission, and they went to Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in Constantinople to show the eggs. The Emperor was happy to notice the tiny eggs, and he laid the foundation for a booming and flourishing silk industry.

As you probably know, silk production was one of the Chinese inventions that people loved for its luxurious texture, and those who were dressed in silk were the ones who were wealthy. Even centuries later, silk is sometimes a symbol of status because it’s still an expensive fabric and has a major influence in trade and in the fashion industry.

Chinese inventions
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4. Kites

You might like to play with kites or teach your grandchildren how to have fun with them, but did you know kites are actually one of the most interesting Chinese inventions?

They were developed in ancient China more than 2,000 years ago. They discovered that things could fly in the air when they attached lightweight materials like silk and bamboo to a frame.

At first, they used kites as a way to communicate and send signals on the battlefield, as they were a great strategic advantage for sending different messages over long distances.

Chinese people noticed that their marvelous inventions had multiple benefits, and one of the things that they observed with kites was that they were amazing for measuring distances and determining wind patterns. Given the fact that they needed as much military help as possible, they used this information in military applications.

But Chinese inventions and their incredible help don’t stop here, because people wanted to let children know about the things they discovered. Kids who were in school were given insights into atmospheric conditions, wind currents, and aerodynamics thanks to the invention of kites.

Besides the scientific, military, and workforce impact that these Chinese inventions had, kites were also a cultural symbol for the country, and they were used in festivals or religious ceremonies as a symbol of prosperity and good luck and for keeping evil spirits at bay.

Nowadays, in other parts of the world, kite flying is one of the cutest forms of entertainment, and you need some skills and creativity to make yours fly as high as possible.

5. Printing

As we said at the beginning of this article, printing is one of the greatest Chinese inventions, and it really changed the world. It was invented during the Tang Dynasty, around the 8th century, and it involved a fantastic technique of re-arranging and reusing individual characters instead of the previous method of carving out entire blocks for every single page.

This innovation is one of the most impressive because it paved the way for the modern printing press we know today. The Chinese printing system meant that they could produce books a lot cheaper, faster, and in bigger quantities.

And if we’re being cheesy, we can say that the printing of a large number of books means that more and more brilliant people were able to get access to knowledge, helping the world become what it is today.

Chinese inventions
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6. Papermaking

We have many reasons to thank these Chinese inventions for what we have today, and papermaking is one of them. Paper, as we know it today, was first created by a smart Chinese court official, a man named Ts’ai Lun. The birth of paper took place in AD 105, under the Han Dynasty, approximately 2,000 years ago.

The man used textile waste as the primary material, and at first, it was kept a secret. However, after some time, papermaking reached Central Asia as well as the Islamic world, and it eventually went to Europe too, with the help of many cultural exchanges and trade.

When more and more people discovered this method of producing paper, they decided to replace the rags with other plant materials, such as bamboo, bark, and hemp.

This magnificent invention revolutionized developments in different domains, such as administration, education, communication, and literature. It was a game changer for sharing and writing down ideas and, therefore, for the advancement of every single civilization across the globe.

Of course, in today’s modern world, people have replaced it with technology, but papermaking is one of the Chinese inventions that shaped humankind, and nobody can deny that.

7. Compass

The compass as we know it today is the fourth of these Great Chinese inventions, as we stated at the beginning of this article, and it was created during the Han Dynasty around the 2nd century BCE.

At first, the Chinese compass was named “South Pointing Spoon” and it consisted of a magnetized needle that was attached to a floating platform. It was created later during the Song Dynasty.

This incredible device was armed with the power of magnetism, which was the biggest help for travelers who needed to be pointed in the right direction. What was great about those times is that people were so smart; they knew how to create things that were much-needed.

The compass, for instance, had a needle aligned with the magnetic field of the Earth, giving a consistent reference point. Long-distance journeys were a lot more enjoyable and productive thanks to the fact that explorers and sailors were able to have a more specific idea of their direction.

From the Age of Discovery to travel, trade, and today’s globalization, the invention of the compass was incredibly important for our worldwide advancement.

Not only did it revolutionize maritime exploration, but it also made other trade routes possible, brought cultures together, and expanded people’s horizons, making it one of the most important Chinese inventions ever.

8. Tea cultivation

The last one of these great Chinese inventions that we’re going to talk about in today’s article is tea cultivation. There’s a popular legend saying that everything began in 2737 BC, when Shen Nung, the Chinese emperor, was relaxing beneath a tree, waiting for his servant to boil his drinking water as a hygienic precaution.

Some leaves fell into the water and infused the beverage, creating the first tea. The emperor was impressed by the subtle and delicious taste, and ancient China became the place where farmers started to come up with different techniques to cultivate and process Camellia sinensis, their newly discovered plant.

It didn’t take much time for the beverage to gain popularity, and more and more people started to drink it thanks to its health benefits and invigorating taste. Tea cultivation became one of the most precious Chinese inventions, and it even evolved into an art form.

Moreover, tea became a staple at ceremonies, social gatherings, morning routines, health treatments, and afternoon pick-me-ups in all parts of the world.

What do you think about these Chinese inventions? I find them really cool and captivating, so let me know in the comments down below what your thoughts are on this one.

If now you’re feeling tired and I made you excited about tea, here’s some healthy Chinese tea for you! Now that we’re at the end of this Chinese invention journey, if you want to read something else from Science in The World, here’s another good article for you: 6 Evil Inventions Actually Made With Good Intentions


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