Ancient Chinese Inventions

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Ancient Chinese Inventions

Nancy LeFever

Strayer University

Dr. Rick Foster

Hum111 World Cultures I

March 2, 2014

Civilization dawned in China centuries before it took root in the West. Within these centuries many wonderful things came into being, things that today we use and sometimes take for granted. Ancient times could not have been easy; everything was done the hard way until something was created to make the task easier. “Necessity is the mother of invention” spoke Plato. The Chinese are and have been great inventors, contributing hundreds of incredible items throughout the ages.
A debate on which Chinese inventions are the best or greatest of all has been ongoing for many years. Although the top ten seem to be somewhat the same, the order in which they are listed is different depending on who is cataloging them. Some say that alcohol is the #1 invention while others contend that gunpowder or the compass is at the top. There are so many to choose from, it is a difficult task to determine which Chinese invention is the most important. Since the inventions are scattered among different areas of life: homemaking has the teapot, pasta and the toothbrush; sailing has the movable rudder and the batten sail; war has gunpowder, the crossbow (not to mention the repeating crossbow), the exploding cannonball and landmines; finance has paper money, the bank note, the abacus; agriculture has the iron plow and the seed drill, different inventions mean more to one person than others.
All of the above mentioned inventions are incredible and extremely beneficial. Two that weren’t mentioned above but have become very valuable to society at large are inoculations (specifically a smallpox inoculation) and iron and steel smelting.
The smallpox inoculation saved millions of lives in ancient China. It was created during the Song Dynasty (960-1276) after a Prime…...

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