Ancient China Inventions

During the reign of the thousands of years of ancient Chinese dynasties they remain the only civilization that continued without falling.

This gave them the time, initiative, and power to be able to devote to inventing many things that we take for granted today.

The influence of the ancient Chinese extends beyond just the few areas that make our lives convenient, and enter into those that have allowed our own Western civilization to prosper and grow.

The ancient Chinese proved themselves to be exceptional inventors, engineers, designers, artists, philosophers, astronomers, medical experts, and scientists.


The production of silk was only known to the ancient Chinese and sharing the methods of creating silk was against the law, upon penalty of death.

The material was light and soft and desired by many of the wealthy people throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Silk became in such demand that the Silk Road was created to transport the material through trade. The Chinese made silk from the silkworm cocoons.


The ancient Chinese valued their art form of Calligraphy and through experimentation, they developed paper.

Once the invention was discovered, they used paper for their currency and even playing cards. Paper was first invented around the 2nd century BC and they Chinese perfected the manufacturing process around 105 AD.


Once paper was invented, the ancient Chinese wanted a method to change the single product creation to more of a mass production.

They invented wood block printing around 868 AD and then 200 years later they invented moveable type.

This was hundreds of years before the invention of the European Gutenberg press.

The Compass

Using a lodestone, the ancient Chinese invented the magnetic compass as a way to figure out the correct direction that they were traveling in.

People in the Western world were still using the stars to navigate. The compass became an important technology for both ship navigation and map makers.


The ancient Chinese were in search of a product that would bring about immortality. They accidently discovered gunpowder while they were researching.

This is probably one of the most important discoveries as it led them to use gunpowder for fireworks and even small rockets.

Today’s military around the world use gunpowder for all types of explosives.

Boat Rudders

This might not seem like a big deal, but when you consider that the boat rudder allowed ships to be steered properly, it suddenly becomes a major invention.

The ancient Chinese built huge ships as early as 200 A.D. and the boat rudder allowed them to travel far.

Other Cool Inventions

The list of inventions by the ancient Chinese is pretty long, but a few of the others include: iron casting, porcelain, the wheelbarrow, the umbrella, hot air balloons, matches, a seismograph for earthquake measurement, acupuncture, and stirrups for horses.

  • Known as the “Four Great Inventions of Ancient China”: Paper, Printing, Gunpowder, and the Compass.
  • The ancient Chinese used kites as a way to signal warnings to their armies and also to scare off invaders.
  • The Chinese used umbrellas to protect themselves from both the rain and the sun.
  • Chinese doctors had studied the human body enough to know the importance of the heartbeat for the health of an individual.
  • The ancient Chinese doctors knew the importance of eating healthy foods and had a selection of herbs that could help with good health and as treatments for illnesses.
  • One of the ancient Chinese beliefs that remains today is the philosophy of Feng Shui. They used compasses to build their homes so that they could face the proper direction for harmony with nature.
  • The ancient Chinese developed the first calculator with the abacus in the 2ndcentury B.C. The system used sliding beads to help them figure out complex math problems.
  • At over 1,100 miles long, the Chinese Grand Canal is the longest manmade river or canal in the world.
  • To preserve works of art, wood, and furniture, the ancient Chinese created a clear coating called “lacquer.”


What was the punishment for sharing the creation of silk?


What 2 major inventions did the ancient Chinese create that changed the world of sailing?

boat rudder and compass

What are the two types of printing that the ancient Chinese invented?

wood block and moveable type

What is the name of the liquid that the Chinese invented to preserve art and wood?


What invention did the ancient Chinese create that is used by the military today?

gun powder

How did the ancient Chinese use kites?

to warn their armies of danger and to scare off attackers