Ancient Chinese Contributions
The Chinese have for a long time had advanced ideas on many things human beings use today. Many of these things existed in the early Chinese cultures in their cruder form and have only been improved upon. Also, there are cases where these inventions seemed to have no uses but have found a lot of uses in the present world. While many of the inventions and contributions were merely stumbled upon, many were discovered intentionally by the ancient Chinese researchers. This paper discusses some of the inventions used widely in the present times that have an origin to Ancient China (Schuessler, 2007).
One of the most notable of the Ancient Chinese inventions is the paper we use today. The Chinese language is notable for its wide use of symbols. It is estimated that the Chinese language has at least 80,000 different symbols that require to be memorized for effective communication. It was thus almost natural to invent paper that was used as storage for the symbols for easy reference. Paper was produced from silk rags, wooden strips and either bamboo, hemp, or clothes. It thus no surprise that it was also in China that the concept of ink, the printer and thus the first book to be printed around 868 AD came from. The second notable Chinese invention is the compass (Ornstein, 2011). Though it has been tweaked in so many ways that we now have digital compasses, the original compass came from China a few centuries ago. Unlike presently, the original compass was created to fulfill purposes of religion with their use for making sure that buildings faced the right direction so that it is in ‘perfect harmony with nature.’ The ‘perfect’ direction was north and its inhabitants were believed to be in perfect harmony with nature.
The third Chinese invention of note is gun powder. Accidentally discovered by alchemists seeking the remedy for mortality, gun powder has found a lot of uses in today’s life. Ironically, the alchemists, instead of finding a substance to make individuals immortal, found one that would increase mortality the more. Fourth on this list is the wheel-barrow. General Jugo Liang of China is credited with inventing a one-wheeled cart that could be used manually to carry heavy loads over a short distance. At five is the seismograph. This is an instrument used to measure the magnitude and other aspects of an earthquake. It is credited to an astronomer named Chang Heng who lived during the Han Dynasty. It was an artistic invention with dragons and frogs. Number six on the list are the activities of fermentation and distillation. These are widely employed in today’s breweries and other industries that rely on them to produce many food products. The seventh invention from China is the kite and the many inventions that followed it. These include hang glider, drones and other unmanned types of aircraft that are widely used today especially for military purposes (Schwartz, 2009).
Silk is one of the items that rightfully claim their origin to Ancient China. It has a lot of uses in today’s clothing industry and it is one of the items that made China a famous country of art. The ninth item other than those mentioned above is the abacus. This was an object for computing large numbers of figures and it has for a long time been referred to as the father of modern-day computers (Schuessler, 2007). Lastly, the Chinese are credited for having invented treatment methods such as acupuncture and massage that are widely recommended by today’s doctors and other medical personnel for their effectiveness in curing ailments. Although other inventions in today’s life can be traced to Ancient China, the ones given above are enough for the purposes of which this paper aims to fulfill.
Of the ten inventions mentioned above, paper, the compass, the kite and the abacus are the most innovative and ingenious. These four have stood the test of time and continue to be improved upon every passing day. First of all, it can be safely argued that paper has been the best storage of knowledge since time immemorial. Not only has paper been synonymous with the passing of information, it has also been credited with the learning process and the breaking of barriers of many types (Ornstein, 2011). While some one can pass information over long distances unaltered. The barriers referred to here include the fact that one can use paper to draw an item or idea then pass it across for better comprehension of the same by the other party.
On the other hand, the kite has undergone so many changes that have enabled the kite withstand the test of time. One of the most notable of the kite’s use is the use of unmanned aircraft for military and other purposes. These enable the carrying out of given missions could be too adverse to human life. Another offspring of the kite is the use of drones. Drones, unlike other types of unmanned aircraft, can be used for a many purposes as possible and take up the size and shape desired for a given mission. These are used for example to keep watch in game reserves and other places where there is a known risk of the committing of crime such as animal poaching and other issues (Schwartz, 2009).
The compass can be said to be the single invention that the ancient Chinese astrologers invented and that has helped very much in exploring other areas both on earth and the universe I general. Without this most important instrument, it would be almost impossible to navigate the earth and find one’s way around new places (Schuessler, 2007). The abacus comes lastly but in the least the least important of the inventions. It is the original computer and, if the original abacus, the one that only computed additions and subtractions, came alive today and looked at those of its kind like the magnificent iPad, it would most likely dispute they are its offspring. It has found so many uses that no industry today can run without the use of computers.
The most important of these inventions as far as its use is concerned, and the one that cannot be done away with, is definitely the abacus. Created to add and subtract large numbers, the abacus pioneered and industry that has become the biggest on earth due to its wide adoption. Today, computers run the world as far as its industries are concerned. No single second goes by without one of the offspring of abacus being used (Ornstein, 2011). From very big supercomputers to the tiniest of smart phones and, recently, smart glasses, the world plainly depends on computers which are all traced to the very first abacus created in China.