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Chinese Inventions

A Long List of Chinese Inventions That Influenced the World

Apart from the compass, tea, silk, and paper, there are many other countless Chinese inventions that has changed the face of world. Read the Historyplex article for a detailed list.
Sheetal Mandora
Last Updated: Mar 6, 2018
Since the dawn of civilization, we humans have been endeavoring to enhance the quality of life and coming with new innovations to survive. If we look back in time, various cultures have given us the opportunity to call ourselves cultured and advanced. As every country has its own set of proud inventions and discoveries, even China has a impressive claim over it. There are various Chinese inventions that have shaped the way we perceive and live in this world.
Inventions Contributed by China
History is witness to the four world famous inventions of ancient China: paper, printing (woodblock printing), gunpowder, and compass. They are considered as not only of ancient China, but also our civilization's greatest inventions till date. But besides these remarkable inventions, there are many other inventions that the world has witnessed. In the following article, we will go over these inventions one by one.
Pre-Shang Inventions
The following famous inventions were formulated during the Neolithic age and prehistoric Bronze age.
  • Pre-Shang Dynasty Inventions
  • Coffin (rect. wooden)
  • Dagger-axe
  • Drum
  • Fork
  • Lacquer
  • Millet (cultivation)
  • Noodle
  • Oar (rowing)
  • Plastromancy
  • Plowshare (triangle)
  • Rice (cultivation)
  • Salt (use)
  • Silk
  • Soybean
  • Steamer (pottery)
  • Treetrunk coffin
  • Urn (pottery)
Shang and Post Shang Dynasty Inventions
After the Neolithic age, the following ancient inventions were acquainted upon and after the Shang Dynasty, China. This is the period between c.1600 - 1050 BC. Let's go over the list to see which inventions were these.
  • Acupuncture
  • Animal zodiac
  • Archeology
  • Anti-malarial properties of artemisia
  • Armillary sphere, hydraulic-powered
  • Automatic opening doors
  • Automation
  • Banknote
  • Beer (high-alcohol)
  • Bellows, hydraulic-powered
  • Belt drive
  • Blast furnace
  • Bomb, cast iron
  • Borehole drilling
  • Bristle toothbrush
  • Bulkhead partition
  • Chinese calendar (365.2425 days)
  • Cast iron
  • Caledon
  • Chain drive
  • Chemical warfare
  • Chopsticks
  • Chromium (use)
  • Chuiwan (Chinese golf)
  • Civil service exams
  • Co-fusion steel process
  • Coke (fuel)
  • Contour canal
  • Crank handle
  • Crossbow, handheld
  • Cuju (football)
  • Cupola furnace
  • Deficiency diseases correction
  • Diabetes (recognition and treatment)
  • Dominoes (Chinese)
  • Duogong (building bracket)
  • Drawloom (fabric)
  • Endocrinology (isolation of sex and pituitary hormones from urine)
  • Escapement (used in clockwork)
  • Exploding cannonballs 
  • Field mill (carriage)
  • Finery forge
  • Fire lance
  • Fireworks
  • Fishing reel
  • Flamethrower
  • Flare, military signal
  • Forensic entomology
  • Free reed aerophone
  • Gas cylinder
  • Gimbal (Cardan suspension)
  • Go (board game)
  • Guqin (zither instrument)
H - I...
  • Hand cannon
  • Horse collar
  • Horse harness
  • Hybrid rice
  • India ink
  • Inoculation (smallpox treatment)
  • Iron plow
J - L...
  • Jacob's staff
  • Jade burial suit
  • Junk (ship)
  • Kite
  • Land mine
  • Leeboard
  • Liubo (board game)
  • Marine salvage operations
  • Makyoh (magic mirrors)
  • Magnetic levitation
  • Mahjong (gambling game)
  • Man-lifting kite
  • Match, non-friction
  • Mechanical theater
  • Modular system of architecture
  • Multiple-tube seed drill
  • Multistage rocket
  • Natural gas (fuel)
  • Naval mine
  • Negative and non-negative numbers
  • Pinhole camera
  • Playing cards
  • Porcelain
  • Pound lock
  • Puppet theater, waterwheel-powdered
  • Raised-relief map
  • Restaurant menu
  • Row planting
  • Rocket bombs, aerodynamic wings and explosive payloads
  • Rotary fan (manual and water-powered)
  • Rudder
  • Seismometer
  • South pointing chariot
  • Steel making (from cast iron)
  • Stirrup
  • Suspension bridge
  • Tea
  • Thyroid hormones (goiter treatment)
  • Tofu
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothbrush
  • Traction trebuchet catapult
  • Trip hammer
  • Tuned bells
W - Z...
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Wine server
  • Winnowing fan
  • Xiangqi (Chinese chess board game)
  • Zeotrope (cinemetograph)
  • Zhaozhou bridge
We have another article on ancient Chinese fireworks invention history that you can read in detail. Reading through the article, you must have a basic idea as to which inventions helped shape our world today.
Zhaozhou bridge
Zeotrope on white background
Winnowing fan
Cupola furnace
Kids Playing football
Handheld Crossbow
Crank handle
Contour canal
Tuned bells
Traction trebuchet catapult
Toilet paper
Tofu cubes
Raw Coke
Chinese Chopsticks
Chemical warfare
Cast iron
Suspension bridge
Bristle toothbrush
Bomb,cast iron
Blast furnace
Graph on Seismometer
Wooden Rudder
Rocket bombs
Restaurant menu card
Raised-relief map
Puppet art
Isolated Bellows
Automatic robot, Automation
Pound lock
Ceramic Porcelain
Pinhole camera
Naval mine
Armillary sphere
Animal zodiac
Natural gas
Multistage rocket
Multiple-tube seed drill
Modular system of architecture
Decorative Urn
Basmati Rice
Man-lifting kite
Magnetic levitation
Marine salvage operations
Wooden Leeboard
Raw Noodles
Silver fork
Chinese Kite
Chinese Junkboat
Wooden Coffin
Chinese Steamer
Millet seed
Drum set
India ink
Horse harness
Hand cannon
Gimbal compass
Free reed aerophone
Mini Flare
Man with Flamethrower
Fishing reel
Fire lance
Exploding cannonballs
Escapement used in clockwork
Chinese Compass
gunpowder barrel
Paper and pulp mill