Chinese Discoveries and Inventions - Discoveries and Inventions 18.1 Introduction ... invention that touches our daily lives more today. Printing The invention of paper made another key development

Download Chinese Discoveries and Inventions - Discoveries and Inventions 18.1 Introduction ... invention that touches our daily lives more today. Printing The invention of paper made another key development

Post on 17-May-2018




1 download


  • Chinese Discoveriesand Inventions18.1 Introduct ion

    In Chapter 17. you learned about economic changes in China during the Songdynasty. In this chapter, you will explore discoveries tnd inventions made bythe Chinese betwecn about 200 and 1400 c.e. Many of these advances came duringthe Tang and Song dynasties.

    Over thc centuries, Chinese scholars and scientists studied engineering, mathe-matics, science, and rnedicine. among other subjects. Their studies led to impressivescientific and technological progress that was otien far ahead of European advances.

    To understand the importance of one Chinese invention, imagine that you are atrader in the lOth century. You are lar out at sea on a Chinese junk loaded withgoods you are bringing to Korea. Without any landmarks to guide you. how do youknow which direction you're headed? Normally you might steer by the sun or thestars. But what if clouds cover the sky? Can you stil l l igure out which way to travel?

    In the past, you might have been lost. But thanks to the magnetic compirss. youcan find your way. Your compass is a magnetized ncedle that aligns itself with theEarth's magnetic poles so that one endpoints north and the other south. Bythe Song dynasty. the Chinese wereusing this type of compass to helpthem navigate on long voyages.People stil l use the same kind ofdevice today.

    Like the compass. other Chineseinventions and discoveries allowedpeople to do things they had neverdone before. ln this chapter, youwill learn about Chinese advancesin exploration and travel,industry, military technology,everyday obiects, and diseaseprevention. As you'll see, theinfluence of many Chinese ideasreached far beyond China.

    Chinese Discoveries and Inventions 195

  • -::-'-.------..-.-.-

    Paddlewheel boats were easilymaneuvered, which made themeffective warships.

    18.2 Exploration andTravelSeveral Chinese inventions made exploration and travel safer and

    faster. Some innovations benefited traders and other voyagers whoventured out to sea. Others improved travel on rivers, lakes, canals,and bridses inside China.

    lmproving Travel by SeaThe Chinese developed the firstcompass as early as the thirdcentury B.c.E. The first Chinesecompasses were pieces of a mag-netic mineral called lodestone.The Earth itself is like a giantmagnet with north and southpoles. Because lodestone is mag-netic, it is influenced by Eanh'smagnetic poles. If you Put a Pieceof lodestone on wood and float itin a bowl of water, the lodestonewill tum until it points in a north-south direction.

    The Chinese eventuallyreplaced the lodestone with asteel needle. They had leamedthar rubbing a needle with lode-stone made the needle magnetic.A needle used as a compass gavea more accurate reading than aoiece of lodestone.

    By the Song dynasty, the Chinese were using magnetic compassesfor navigation at sea. Compasses made long sea voyages possiblebecause sailors could figure out directions even without a landmarkor a point in the sky to steer by. The compass remains an importantnavigational tool today.

    The Chinese also made sea travel safer by improving boat construc-tion. By the second century c.E., they discovered how to build shipswith watertight compartments. Builders divided the ships into sectionsand sealed each section with caulk, a sealant that keeps out water. Ifthere was a leak, it would be isolated in one compartment. The othercompartments would stay dry, keeping the ship afloat. Modern ship-builders stil l use this technique.

    lmproving Travel on Rivers, Lakes, Canals, andBridges Within China, people often traveled by boat on rivers oracross lakes. An invention called the paddlewheel boat speeded tp thistvDe of travel.

    196 Chapter l8

  • et


    Have you ever paddled a canoe or other small boat? As you pushyour paddle through the watet the boat moves tbrward. In the flfth cen-tury, the Chinese adapted this idea by ananging a series of paddles in awheel. As the paddlewheel turned, the paddles moved continuouslythrough the water, causing the boat to move forward.

    Paddlewheel boats allowed the Chinese to travel much taster onrivers and lakes. We still use this type of boat for pleasure trips today.

    Another innovation. the canal lock, was invented in the lOth cen-tury. during the Song dynasty. As you've leamed, the Chinese usedcanals extensively. As the surrounding land sloped up, parts of canalswere at difTerent levels. Before canal locks were invented. the Chinesehad to drag their boats up stone ramps to reach water at a higher level.Sometimes the boats would be seriously damaged.

    Canal locks solved this problem. When a boat entered the lock, agate was lowered to hold in water. The water was then allowed to riseuntil it reached the level of the water up ahead. Then the boat floatedon. To go "downhill," water was let out of the lock until it fell to thelevel of the water down below.

    The invention of locks made canal travel much easier. Locks couldraise boats as much as 100 feet above sea level. They are used today onrivers and canals around the world, including the tamous Panama Canal.

    The Chinese also found ways to improve bridges. For example,in 610 c.E., a Chinese engineer invented a new type of arched bridge.In Europe, Roman-designed bridges rested on arches that were half-circles. The new Chinese bridge used arches that were a smaller part.or segment, of a circle. This made the bridges broader and flatter thansemicircular arches. Called a segmental arch bridge, the newbridge took less material to build, and it was stronger as well.

    The segmental arch bridge is one of Chinr's most prized rechno-logical achievements. Today bridges with this design stretch overexDresswavs rround lhe world.

    canal lock a gated chambsr ina canal used to raise or lower thewater levelsegmental arch bridge abr idge supported by arches thatare shallow segments (parts) ofa crrc le

    The Great Stone Br idge spanning theriver Chiao Shui was the world's firstsegmental arch br idge. l t has a spanof 123 feet.




    r this

  • movable type individual char-acters made of wood or metal thatcan be arranged to create a jobfor printing and then used overagarn

    The scene on the woodblock below(center) was carved with the engrav-ing tools shown. l t was then coveredwith ink, and paper was pressed ontoit to create the print at the bottom.Not ice that the pr inted scene is amirror image of the carved sceneon the woodblock.

    18.3 IndustrySome ofthe advances made by the Chinese led to new industries.

    ln this section, you'll leam about China's paper, printing, porcelain, andsteel industries.

    Paper The Chinese invented the art of papermaking by the secondcentury c.E. The earliest Chinese paper was probably made out of thebark of the mulberry tree. Later, rags were used.

    Papermaking became an imponant industry in China. For more than500 years, the Chinese were the only people in the world who knewthe secret of making paper. From China, knowledge of papermakingtraveled to Japan and across Central Asia. Europeans probably firstleamed about this art after I100. Considering how important paperis for recording and transmitting information, it's hard to think of aninvention that touches our daily lives more today.

    Printing The invention of paper made another key developmentpossible-printing. In about the seventh century, the Chinese invented atechnique called woodblock printing- The printer first drew characters


    (symbols) on paper. He then glued the paper to awooden block. When the glue was dry, the printercarved out the wood around the characters, leav-ing the characters raised on the wood.

    To print from the block, the printer coveredthe characters with black ink. Then he spreadpaper over the block and smoothed the paperwith a brush. Some artists still use block printingtoday to create fine art prints.

    By the 8th century, there was an entire wood-block printing industry in China. Printers turnedout religious and other works on scrolls. In theloth century, the Chinese started printing mod-em-style books with pages.

    In the I lth century, during the Song dynasty,the Chinese invented movable type. Movabletype consists of separate blocks for each charac-ter. Printers made their type by carving charactersout of clay and baking them. To print, theyselected the characters they needed and placedthem in an iron frame in the order they wouldappear on the page. When the printing job wasdone, the type could be removed from the frameand used again.

    With the invention of movable type, printersno longer had to create a new set of woodblocksfor each item they printed. This dramatically

    198 Chapter 18

  • Iowered the cost of pr int ing. Byrntking wrilte n nratcrials nrorcwidcly avai lable. advances inprinting hclped spreld learningthroughout China.

    Eunrpe first dcveloped rnovabletype in the l . l (X)s. Unt i l recent ly. a l lnewspapcrs. books. and nragazincsrlerc printcd using movable tvpc.

    Porcelaan A lanrous Chincscinvention is thc typc of fine pottelycal led porcelain. Sonte histor iunsthink the filst porcelain ',ras ntadcas early as the lirst century c.[.

    Porcclain is nrrrde by corrbiningclay r ith the rocks quartz andteldspar. 1 'he nr ixture is baked in a k i ln. or ovcn. at \ cr) h igh tenrpcr-atules. l 'he rcsulting ponely is r'"hitc. hald. and rraterprool. Light canpass lhrouglr it. which rnakes ir look quite dclicale and beaurilirl.

    By thc lOth ccntury. thc Chincsc uere nraking porcelain of lrcltbeauty. Cralispcople learned how 10 painl pictures orr porcclain pieces.They llso nadc coloretl glazes to tlecorate their porcelain.

    Porcelain rnaking becrnrc a rnrjor indLrstry il China. Hundreds ofthousunds ol'people workcd to mass-produce dishcs. bou ls. andr ases. Some washcd thc clay. Others applicd thc glaze or operatcdlhc k i ln.

    Chinesc porcelain beclmc a prized itetn tirr tradc. Thc Europcansdid not learn how to makc finc porcelain until the llJth centurv.

    Many peoplc th ink that nedieral Chincse porcclain is the l incstin the nor ld. People todal st i l l re le l to f ine dinncruare as "china."

    Steel The Chinese lirst nrade steel. r ven,usefirl nrctal. bcfbrc2(X) B.( .1. Stcel is made l lon i ron. but i t is lcss br i t t le than i ron andeasier t0 bend into dit' lerent shupes.

    Thc earliest Chinese steel *as made liont cast iron. Thc Chinescwere llre first to lcarn how 1o mrkc cast iron by ntclting and ntoldinscrude i ron. Latcr they lcarned thut blowing ai l onto rnol ten (rnel tcd)cast iron causes r chemical reactiot'] tlttt creatcs stcel.

    ln thc fifth century, the Chincse learned to mix cast iron rvithurought iron. Wrtroght iron is soticr than cast ilon. Conrbining thcsetwo ti)rms of iron under high hcat changcs thern into steel.

    These discovcries eventullly rnade it possihle to produce lalgeamounls ol stecl cheaply. In the l8(X)s. the nrass protluction ol steelwls crucial to the Europcan Industr ia l RerolLrt iOn.- l i rday. i ron andsteel making arc anollg China's nrost intportant indu\trics.

    The art of making porcelain wasinvented in China and became ama jor industry there.

    porcelain a hard, white pottery;also cal led chinamass-produce to make simi lari tems in quant i ty by using stan-dardized designs and div id inglabor among workers

    Chincse Discover ics and Invent iuns 199

  • gunpowdor an explosivepowder made of saltpeter andother materialsalchemy a combination of sci-ence, magic, and phi losophy thatwas practiced in medieval timescatapul t a s l ingshot- l ike warmachine used for shooting rocks,shells, and other objects

    1 8.4 Military TechnologyDuring the Song and Mongol periods, the Chinese developed

    powertul weapons. The invention of gunpowder made these weaponspossible.

    The Chinese who first made gunpowder were alchemists, peoplewho practiced a blend of science and magic known as alchemy.Alchemists experimented with mixtures of natural ingredients, tryingto find a substance that might allow people to live forever. They alsosearched for a way to make gold out of cheaper metals.

    Chinese alchemists experimented with a salty, white mineral calledsoltpeter. They may have believed that saltpeter could extend life.

    Perhaps by accident, they discovered that it could be used tomake an explosive powder. In 850 c.e., during the Tang dynasty,alchemists recorded a formula for gunpowder. They wamedothers to avoid it because it was dangerous.

    In the lOth century, the Chinese made the first weapon thatused gunpowder: the flamethrower. Early flamethrowers con-tained gunpowder mixed with oil. The Chinese used them tospray enemies with a stream of fire.

    Between the I lth and l4th centuries, the Chinese created manyother weapons using gunpowder. Anillery shells, for example,exploded after being hurled at enemies by a catapult. The soundof the exploding shells confused the enemy and terrified theirhorses. Small bombs called grenades were lit and thrown by hand.

    In the l3th century, the Chinese used large bombs that were asexplosive as modem bombs. Around the same time, they developedweaoons much like todav's rifles and cannons.

    Travelers brought knowledge of gunpowder to Europe by theearly 1300s. Gunpowder changed the way war was waged in Europeand around the world forever. Weaoons like crossbows and sDealsgave way to guns and anillery.

    Rocket technology was developed in China during the Songdynasty. Rockets used a black powder made of saltpeteq charcoal,and sulfur At first rockets were used only in fireworks. Later theChinese used them as weapons. They even made a two-stage rocketfor their armies. The first stage propelled the rocket through the air.The second stage dropped arrows on the enemy.

    By 1300, rockets had spread through much of Asia and intoEurope. The rockets that we use to explore space today are based on

    principles discovered by the Chinese.

    This model 0f a l4th-centurv bees' nest rocket launcherwas re-created based on a medieval drawino and writtendescriptions.

    200 Chapter 18

  • 18.5 Everyday ObjectsDo you evcr play -uanres with a tlcck ol carcls.) II so. you're Lrsinr.:

    a Chinese invcnt ion. Thc Chinesc inventet l u nunrbcr ol thc evervcluyobjccts we takc li)r grmlcd toth1,. including pllving cards. papcrnroncy. and nrcchanical c locks. Al l thcsc in\ent ions canrc dur ing thcTang dynasty.

    Plavin-s cards "vcre. inrcnted in China in rbout thc ninth ccntLrr_".Printers used u oodblock printing to nrlke thc cards thrm thick papcr.Fanrous arlists drew the dc'signs thitl itppcilrc(l on the hacks ol thectro\.

    Europerns wcre intloduced to playing cards by aroLrnd l-j00. Today.card games rrc played throughout thc worltl.

    Paper moncy $ as inlcntcd bv thc Chincse in the latc cighth or earlyninth century. Betirre that tinrc. coins were thc only lirrrr of currcrrcy.

    Like playing cards. pupr monev wls plintcd with',vrxrd blocks.81 l l07. Song pr inters \ \cre usin-r : nrul t ip lc srxrd blocks to pr int cachbi l l . A s ingle bi l l would have many colols. Pupcl moncy is the ntoslcommon tbrnr ol currency in the rvolld totlav.

    The Chinesc devclopcd the lllst mcchanical clock in about theeighth century. The new ckrck \\' its ll lorc accrtrirlc tlt n carlier tintc-keeping dcviccs such as sundials and hour-ulrsses. Thc ('hinese tlcvrsetla whcel that nade onc conrpletc'tunl eveD, l-l hours. [)ripping ',rltermadc the whecl turn. Evcry quarlcl hour drunrs rvould bett. and everyhour a bell would chinrc. The sountls lct peoplc know what tirne it was.

    The Chincsc irnprovcd the mechanical clock in 1091. durin-r the.Song dynasty. The new clock workcd on tlre \lnre principles as thc first0ne. but it was rnuch rlorc complcx ilnd accLrrate.

    Europeans first deieloped mechunicll ckrcks in the late 1200s. Aswith Chinesc clocks, a bcll rang to indicatc tlre hour. I- ter. dials andhands were added. Modcrn-day llcchanical clocks are based on thcsame tundamcntal principlcs as earlt Chinese clocks.

    Playing cards were invented in aboutthe ninth century in China. A typicalpack had 30 cards, and many di t ferentgames were played with them.

    Chinese Discoveries and lnventions 201

  • Doctors and patients in China duringthe Middle Ages benefitted trom newknowledge of medicine and treatmentof diseases.

    inoculat to Protect agalnstdisease by transmitting a disease-causing aqent to a Person, $m-ulating the body's defensivereactronsimmune system the body'snatural defense against disease

    18.6 Disease PreventionChinese knowledge of medicine and disease prevention dates to

    ancient times. Before the first century c E" the Chinese developed a

    way of fighting infectious diseases. (An infectious disease is one thrt

    can spread from person to person.) When someone died of an

    disease. the Chinese bumed a chemical that gave off a poisonous

    They believed that the smoke would destroy whatever was causmg

    disease.Today we know that many diseases are caused by germs' We

    the spread of disease by using disinfectants (substances such as

    that kill germs). The poisonous smoke used by the Chinese was a

    of disintbctant.During the Song dynasty, the Chinese discovered another way t0


    prevent the spread of disease. A Chinese monk recommended

    the clothes of sick people. He believed that the steam would Iothers fiom becoming ill. The idea was sound, because hot temper-atures kill many germs Today we boil medical instruments to kill

    disease-caustng germs.Sometime around the l0th century, the Chinese discovered how

    to inoculate people against smallpox, a dreaded infectious

    lnoculation is a way of stimulating a person's immune systomfight a particular disease. It works by exposing the person to a

    carrying substance. To inoculate people against smallpox' Chinesephysicians took a small part o[ a scab from an infected person and

    202 Chapter 18

  • l l rdt i l in l ( ) i r l ) (J\ \L lcr . l l rer t l rcr in\cf l ( r l l l ta l ) ( ) \ \ ( ler in l ( ) l l tc no\cOitht pclrLrn lhe\ \ \ i r I ] tc( l to i r t r l l t r r l ] ize ( l l r ( r lcet i i l l l in\ l l l tc t l l \e i t \c) .

    TheClt inc.e kuc\ \ l l t i l t l l t r r l l r r l lo l r lc ! i l r ( u l ten e r | tx inr . : I reo,plelLr st ]Lr l l ILrr . Sonrcl inte: l l )C l te i l t l ] ]c l i t ' r l l ClrLr:cr l I ) ( ( ) l ) le tohcont ' i l l . I i r hu i r \ \ i l l r r r ' I t r : : ih lc. l l te ( l r i r rc 'c t txrL t l tc in ler . t i r r r r ri l lerr t l l f ( ) r r l )cr) l ) la \ l ro l t r r r l u l r r 'ar l r hcen i orLr l r r leLl .Chine'c Lnor i ledr:e rrborr l snlr l l |or inoerr l r r l ion ( \cntLlr l l \ l (d lo

    fude\al() l l r lanl o l r l r r r r : r 'u l l r ' r l vaccines \ \ 'e r t r r r r l tnc r l r .crne'lo lmur r l i 'c . t 'cs. inelrrr l i r t r : . r r r r r l lPor . rnt l r l t r . I l r r

    7 Chapter Summaryh this chapter. vou lclrncd about ('hinesc

    lnd t l i ruorct ier hctucL'n i rh, , r r t l { ) t )1400 c.E. Thc inlluencc ol ntany ol thesc

    sprcld Iar beyond China. Many ChincsciLnd discovcr ies cont inuc to l l lect our

    rcoa).$veral Chinese ideas inrprovc'tl trarcl and

    Thcr i re lut lc lhc e()rnpir \s. p i l ( lJ lc-hats. canal locks. and scgtnentrl rch

    Advances in papcrnraking tnd pr int inSspread lcarni ng. Chin!'sc polccli l i t l br'canlcfor i t \ qu.r l i l ) i ld hcirul \ . Thc ( ' l r i r re. t .

    discovercd wavs ol nrakinl sterl.Chinese revolLrtionized m ilitary tcchnolo-

    discorcrcd hor" to use gunpo$dct topwerful weapons. 'l 'hel tlso drrelopecl

    rocKets.number of Chinese in\entions cnriclrcd pco

    l i rcs. Anrong thcnt are plavingPapr nonc). and nrechlnical clocks. Tltc

    al.o tludc -grcil l slride\ irr rlcdi,. irrc irrrrlpreventi(D. 1'hev devclopcd thc lirst disinand disco\ered hou to inrrulatc pcoplc.smallpor.

    scient i l ic and tcchnological rdvancesfar ahead ol thosc nlade in Europc.

    such as papcr and -lunpowdcr. cvcntuallvthir ua1, to thc $eslcrn "rorlti. But lhcgener lly had lit(lc conttct $ith othor

    In the next chapter. you will Icarnthe relationship hetwccn China andworld.

    vaccine a substance usedto rmmunrze people aga nst ad sease

    ! ' / r : or , , , ,c l r ( le l l l 1o Cl t Ia lor nraIV ofrLr nrot l0r f advlncos Tlro fvr :ntron

    r) f 'o( jk01s, fo. rsIaIc i t , , " , ' Is t l te l t rsts l0 l l l0rr , , I r ( j spi lcr rx l l 0rnt on

    ( l l i r r , . . I ) i \ ! r ) \c | l ( ' i lnr l I | l \cnt i ( ) t ] \ l0- l


View more >