5th Period: Kuenstling/Peltier


Paper Invented

7,000 bc

Cai Lun, a government official from the eastern Han dynasty, made paper by mixing the bark of a mulberry tree and bamboo fibres with water, draining and drying the mixture on a flat bamboo frame.

Decimal System Invented

4000 BC

The Chinese wrote with characters instead of an alphabet. When writing with a Western alphabet of more than nine letters, there is a temptation to go on with words like eleven.

Pottery Wheel Invented

3500 BC

Pottery was a critical skill in the ancient world, providing cooking pots, vessels for food and water storage and opportunities for creativity.

Silk Invented

2,700 BC

Legend has it that Empress Si Ling Chi discovered silk when a silkworm moth cocoon fell from a mulberry tree into her tea. After some experiment, she finally managed to weave the silk filament into a piece of fabric.

Shang Dynasty

2100 BC - 1700 BC

Porcelain Invented

1600 BC

Compared with other pottery, the primitive porcelain, with its transitional nature, is durable, easy to rinse, delicately decorated with fine roughcast, thus it has a good prospect of development.

Lacquer Invented

1300 BC

This is what was used to waterproof stuff. This liquid stuff came from a tree.

Zhou Dynasty

1100 bc - 1046 BC

Iron Invented

650 BC

Iron was used to make weapons and tools. It was a big deal that they invented iron.

Iron Plow Invented

600 BC

It had a central ridge ending in a sharp point to cut the soil and wings which sloped gently up towards the center to throw the soil off the plow and reduce friction.

Warring States Dynasty

480 BC - 221 BC

Crossbow Invented

400 BC

These were a very important weapon in warfare. These had a mechanical trigger, so that many releases could be made without tiring the crossbowman.

Folding Umbrella Invented

300 BC

The umbrella symbolized power and wealth, the bigger umbrellas were for the people in a higher status, where the smaller ones were for people with a lower social status.

Horse Collar or Trace Invented

300 BC

Previously horses were attached to vehicles by straps around their necks. The horse could not pull a heavy load because the strap would constrict its neck! The horse collar allowed horses to pull much heavier loads.

Compass Invented

221 BC

It was made with lodestone – an iron oxide-based mineral that aligns itself in a north-south direction due to the Earth’s magnetic field.

Qin Dynasty

221 BC - 207 BC

Han Dynasty

220 BC - 206 BC

Wheelbarrow Invented

100 AD

An ancient Chinese wheelbarrow was made entirely out of wood and used animal fat as a lubricant for the axle.


Sundial Invented

574 AD

A sundial is an device that used to measure time by the position of the Sun. It is called “rigui” in Chinese. In ancient China, it was used by Chinese people to count hours during the sunny days.

Jump Rope Invented

1600 AD

Chinese jump rope is a game played by many children, using an elastic rope that is tied in a circle. Two players stretch the rope out around their ankles while the third performs a jumping pattern within it.