Paper was invented by the Chinese
American and European inventors are credited for making electricity, cars and even the internet! But did you know that some of the most important inventions actually came from ancient China centuries earlier? In fact, Chinese high culture provided the world with a number of inventions which helped shape today’s world!
What are China’s greatest inventions?
Paper: In Ancient china, people wrote on tortoise shells and bones and later, bamboo and wood. But this meant that books were very heavy and it is said, that one ancient teacher needed five carts to transport all his books around! People tried to make paper from cloth but this didn’t go well and besides, was too pricey. But 2,000 years ago, a man called Cai Lun made paper from fishing nets, cloth and bark. This was a success and far cheaper to make, which meant ordinary people could afford it! Over time, paper-making improved and it’s now made everywhere!
Printing: This one kind of links to the paper invention. Around 600 AD, engraved printing was created by using molded clay to print letters onto paper. This invention went on to have a massive impact on the world as it meant books and newspapers could be printed quickly, rather than hand-written, so more could be made for people to read!
Compass: Yes, China made the very first compass! The basic version called a Si Nan was improved during the 11th century when magnetic needles were added. Chinese ships could now tell which way they were going, though it wasn’t until the 14th century that Europe got a hold of this nifty tool!
Gunpowder: Huo Yao means gunpowder and was actually invented by accident! Chinese potion mixers, called alchemists were mixing up sulphur, saltpetre and charcoal to try and make a magic formula which could make someone live forever! That didn’t work out, though the use of gunpowder spread throughout the world. As well as being used by the military, it’s also used to make colorful fireworks!
Silk, the wheelbarrow and even kites came from China! If you were an inventor, what would you create? Can you think of something that might be either useful or fun? One day, perhaps you too will go down in the history books!
By Deborah L. Caine (Whyzz writer)