Customary Chinese Inventions

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In the present contemporary world, we usually get too involved with the material things that influence our present state of civilization. However, a majority of these products are assumed to have been developed in the west, as a matter of fact, most inventions came from the east.

Printing was one of the important inventions of ancient Chinese. The first book was printed by them in 868 AD. Bi Sheng introduced movable prints made of clay. However, these facts are now overshadowed with the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg from Germany.

Most weapons that we know today are inventions made by ancient Chinese. Obviously, these inventions are relatively crude when compared to their modern versions; however it were the Chinese who first invented them and applied their use in warfare. Gunpowder was one of the basic inventions amongst all and hence it paved the way to other inventions such as bombs, rockets, mines, grenades, flame throwers and fire arrows.

Chinese alchemists used “saltpeter” since 492 AD and they mixed it with sulphur for medicinal purposes. While looking for elixir, these alchemists accidently discovered gunpowder by 900 AD. Initially, gunpowder was referred to as “pinyin”, which meant “fire medicine”.


The first rocket in the world was invented by Chinese in 1150 AD. Later on, fire arrows were ignited by gunpowder with a range of about 1000 ft. Thereafter rocket launchers were developed that could fire up to 1000 arrows. The next few centuries witnessed the inception of improved and powerful rocket designs.

Fire Throwers

The Chinese created the Fire Throwing Machine or the Pen Huo Qi around 919 AD. These machines indicated the primary use of gunpowder in battles. The fire throwers were mostly used to burn opposition ships in naval battles.


Crossbows were extensively used by the Chinese since 200 BC. For thousands of years, it was the standard military weapon of the Chinese. These bows were made with precise weight mechanism and a slight difference would change its functionality completely.

Other Important Inventions

Apart from inventing weapons, the Chinese came up with quite a few significant inventions. These inventions include parachute, silk, paper, acupuncture, rudder, seismograph, lacquer, animal harness, wheelbarrows, currency, compass, matches and many more. According to Roger Bacon, a 12th century teacher, invention of compass, gunpowder and printing had a great impact on humanity, which cannot be outstripped by any religion or empire.


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