Top 10 Inventions of Ancient China

China is the biggest emerging economy in the world. When it comes to greatest inventions of the world, China’s name is sure to be mentioned several times. This is because China’s long history is full of great technological inventions as well as the things of daily use. The four major inventions that are credited to China include papermaking, gunpowder, compass and printing. However, the list is long and there are hundreds of things which are invented by Chinese. Here we have compiled a list of top 10 inventions of ancient China starting from number 10.

10.  Alcohol



Shocked? I was because when they say alcohol I think about either US or UK. China had never crossed my mind. In China alcohol was made by two legendary persons named Yi Di and Du Kang who belonged to Xia Dynasty. This period was about 2000 BC – 1600 BC. Research says that in ancient China, beer with 4% alcoholic content was widely consumed by people. It was also mentioned on the bone inscriptions which date back to 1046 BC. Also, around 1000 BC China created a beverage with more than 11% alcoholic content whereas in West no beverage had reached this threshold until 12th century.

9. Tea



Here is something for tea-aholics. China is the proud inventor of tea which was first drank by Shen Nong a Chinese Emperor around 2737 BC. It was after that the Chinese inventor whose name is not known made tea shredder to slice the tea leaves into thin strips. This was done by using a sharp central wheel in a wooden or ceramic pot. Tea production was rapidly developed making tea a popular drink during Tang and Song Dynasty.

8. Mechanical Clock

Mechanical Clock

Mechanical Clock

Have you ever wondered what on earth we would be doing without having any idea of time? A clock really is an invention without which things are incomplete and the credit of making first mechanical clock goes to ancient china. The first mechanical clock was invented by Yi Xing who was a Buddhist monk of Tang Dynasty. This was during 618 – 907 BC. Amore sophisticated version of clock was made by Su Song during 960 – 1279 BC. He belonged to Song Dynasty.

7. Silk Fabric

Silk Fabric


Silk the favorite fabric of many girls out there is also a Chinese invention. Although we all know that silk is made by silkworms but it was Chinese people who first invented a way to harvest the silkand then use it to make clothes. The oldest silk which is found so far was in Henan Province and dates back to 3630 BC.

6. Porcelain



Porcelain isn’t an ordinary ceramic but a very specific kind of ceramic which is produced under extreme temperatures in a kiln. Originated in China, it first appeared in 16th century during Shang Dynasty. However, porcelain making was already present in China during Tang Dynasty. But this art reached its perfection in Song Dynasty. The first European porcelain was invented in 1708.

5. Smelting of Steel and Iron

Smelting of Steel and Iron

Smelting Iron and Steel

Not many people know about the inventor if iron and steel smelting. Confirmed by many archeologists, the first iron made by melting pig iron was done in ancient China during early 5th century. China was flourishing in steel smelting during Eastern Zhou Dynasty i.e.1050 BC-256 BC.

4. Compass


Now this is really an amazing invention. There would have been no planes and no ships had there been no compass. Thanks to China for this incredible navigational instrument. The earliest compass was made by Chinese according to the geometric principle given by Feng Shui. It was invented during Song Dynasty.

3. Printing (Movable-type)

Printing (Movable-type)


World’s first printing was done some 2000 years ago in China. It was woodblock printing done with wooden carved blocks during tang Dynasty. Movable clay printing was invented by Bi Sheng of Song Dynasty. It consisted of four processes. Copper and lead type printing were later developed on the basis of Bi’s ideas.

2. Gunpowder



Here we have reached position number 2 owned by gunpowder. Now this was a useful invention but a more destructive one in current scenario. Anyways, gunpowder is a famous Chinese invention and was invented during 19th century. It was made by a mixture of sulfur, potassium nitrate and charcoal and was commonly known as black powder. This is used to heat many different processes.

1. Paper Making

Paper Making


And one of the top most inventions of ancient China is none other than paper. I know you were expecting it. First paper was invented by China in Han Dynasty dating back to 9 AD to 202 BC. Paper was a real significant invention which has contributed much to the development of human civilization. First batch of paper using tree barks and fish net was successfully made by Cai Lun. Before paper, Chinese used to write on bones and pottery.

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