Sericulture (Silk Production)• Legend says that around 2700 BCE, the Empress Hsi Ling Shi had a silkworm cocoon fall into her hot tea. As she watched the stands of fiber unravel, she had a vision of how to harvest and weave the threads into silk.• Making Silk
Decimal System• An example of how the Chinese used the decimal system appears in a transcription from the 13th century BCE, in which 547 days is written Five hundred plus four decades plus seven of days.
The Seismograph• Earthquakes had long plagued China. Chang Heng, a scientist, mathematician and inventor designed the first seismograph around 132 CE, a bronze vessel with an inverted weighted bob in the center which would release a small bronze ball through one of eight grooved openings when a tremor caused the bob to sway.
Replica of Didong Yi, the worlds firstseismograph.
Paper• The invention of paper from hemp fibers dates to the second century BCE. The oldest surviving piece of paper was found in a tomb near Xian and dates from between the years 140 and 87 BCE.
Lacquer ware• Lacquer dates from the 13th century BCE. Lacquer is a plastic varnish that has great powers of preservation, strength and durability (like plastic). The Chinese obtained lacquer by tapping lacquer trees and used it for furniture, screens, coating cooking utensils and making weapon accessories.
Rockets and multi-staged rockets• Invented around 1150 CE when a bamboo stick was attached to a cluster of fireworks. The stick was fitted with an arrowhead (sometimes coated with poison) and a balancing weight and was lit from a frame shaped like a dragon or other type of launcher box.• Multistage rockets were rigged so that the rear fuses for the second stage of the rocket would light once the front stage had burnt out.
Horse collar or Trace• By the fourth century BCE, the Chinese had invented the trace harness. This harness worked by means of a breast strap which allowed a horse to exert itself and bear pressure on the chest bone. Prior to this invention, horses were made to wear throat-and-girth harnesses, which severely choked the animal as it tried to pull.
The Abacus• By the 14th century the abacus was in common use. The abacus is a wooden frame with a horizontal bar that divides the upper section of the frame from the rest. Columns of vertical wood rods hold counting beads. The counting beads are moved over to represent the units, tens, hundreds, thousands and so on.
Compass• The spoon or ladle is of magnetic lodestone, and the plate is of bronze. The circular center represents Heaven, and the square plate represents Earth. The handle of the spoon points south. The spoon is a symbolic representation of the Great Bear. The plate bears Chinese characters which denote the eight main directions of north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest, and symbols from the I Ching oracle books which were correlated with directions. Separately marked are the finer gradations of twenty-four compass points, and along the outermost edge are the twenty-eight lunar mansions.
Barbed wire being transported by a traditional Chinese wheelbarrownear Shanghai in 1938. This type, with the large central wheel, can bepulled from the front as well as pushed from behind, and can carrymore than two tons-The Genius of China