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ancient china


Sharing with ancient China didn’t begin here.

China invented paper money. Did they invent the safe soon after?

Why don’t we hear more bank robbery stories from China?


Moving two tons of red stuff — Communist China adorns scarlet notes with a likeness of Mao Zedong — was hardly a one-man job, and since Ma was also a manager of the vault, Ren could hardly keep it from him. The two men, both of whom were in their mid-30s, planned until the following spring before unplugging the bank’s security system and taking off with almost 33 million yuan in cash, according to accounts in the Chinese press. When police noticed the lapse and phoned the bank, Ren just made an excuse and no one paid any further attention … at least not at first.

This might be why there’s not so many Chinese bank robbers?


Fireworks in China?

If they don’t include piccolo pete powder, a large plastic bottle wrapped in duct tape, and melted asphalt, where’s the excitement?

You can’t see shock waves from a firecracker.

I’ve been wanting to make some motar shells and I thought I’d start by
perfecting the stars first. I made a few nice ones by mixing this white
stuff with some flash power, three different types of sparkler material, and
some smokeless ball powder in a bit of water. It was the first time I ever
mixed powders.

I got a little nervous when some bubbles (very few) started appearing, but
nothing happened. I let them air dry because I was not about to stick them
in an oven.

If he did, you’d see a shock wave just after the oven launched through your house.


The Chinese wheelbarrow is the opposite of a rickshaw, but not so different.

Japan gets credit for the rickshaw, but pull a wheelbarrow behind you with your lady in the bucket and you’ve got the same thing.

Women and wheelbarrows are always a good match.

Wheelbarrows were in use in China right from the Ancient times during the Hans dynasty during the 2nd Century.

Tomb Murals were found in different provinces of China in around 118 AD. Carvings of a man pulling a wheel barrow have been found engraved in many provinces.

There have been many stories like the one where a wife was helping her poor husband pull a wheel ahead. The Book of Later Han became very famous in that era. According to many Chinese texts the Chinese Prime Minister Zhuge Liang should be getting the credit for invention of wheelbarrows.

The Prime Minister takes credit? Who’s sucking up here?


Ancient China gave the world gun powder to fire guns.

Too many don’t put this picture together: the force of a bullet on a body makes a mess.

You don’t want that mess inside the house.

With any modern firearm, as long as your finger is away from the trigger guard, your firearm will not discharge. Knowing this, there should be 0% chance of a negligent discharge.

Notice we didn’t say ‘accidental discharge’, because there is no such thing. It’s negligent, period.



China invented the flame thrower, a technological advancement for warfare.

Don’t ask WWII Japanese soldiers for an endorsement.


The Greeks that were around before had developed one, but not as terrifying as this. Around 919 A.D, the ancient Chinese developed a horrifying weapon that made soldiers fear for their lives. The Chinese had built an ancient flamethrower, unique from the others.

This new weapon could spray a continuous stream of flame into the opposing army. More often than not, the flamethrowers would be loaded onto ship decks to shoot at the enemy ships. The stream of flames would encircle the enemy armada in a fiery wreath, sending the ship and it’s crew to watery graves.

You’re on fire and worried about a watery grave? Do we need more evidence?


Ancient China invented the parachute.

Since the airplane was a few centuries away, even with DaVinci’s help, they also make the first laws against base jumping.

What color was the first parachute?

In 90 B.C., according to the book Si Ji 《史記》(Historical Records) written by a famous Chinese historian Si Ma Chian (司馬遷) who lived during the Western Han dynasty, there was a legend which described how the emperor Shun () nearly 2000 years before the Han Dynasty (4000 years past the present) use a sort of parachute to survive a fall. Shun’s father Gu Sou (瞽叟) intended to kill him by forcing him to get on top of a roof and then burning him to death.

Fortunately Shun held two large bamboo hats to escape from the roof and land on the ground safely. This is the principal of using bamboo hats to increase air resistance to reduce the falling speed.

Then later on in 200 B.C., there were acrobats performing stunts of great falls using something similar to parachutes during their acrobatics in the palaces of the early Han Emperors. Hence the invention of the parachute was for performances to entertain one emperor in China or to escape from another (murderous) emperor.

Doesn’t this have a Shakespearean feel? Any word on parachutes at The Globe? Hang gliders?

You’d want a Chinese parachute when you abandon your burning ship.


The rudder was such an important invention for a sea going nation.


Han Dynasty: circa 202 BC – 220 AD

Chinese naval developments occurred far earlier than similar western technology. The first recorded use of rudder technology in the West was in 1180. Chinese pottery models of sophisticated slung axial rudders (enabling the rudder to be lifted in shallow waters) dating from the 1st century have been found.

Early rudder technology (c 100 AD) also included the easier to use balanced rudder (where part of the blade was in front of the steering post), first adopted by England in 1843 – some 1700 years later.

If China had had a stronger rudder in 1934, and Mao a weaker one, the Red Army might have gotten lost before ending their 6000 mile march.


The compass of ancient China.

The first compasses were invented in China, around the 200s AD, even though Europeans and West Asians did not learn about them for another thousand years. These compasses were very simple arrangements of an iron needle and a bit of cork, and you can easily make one just like them.

Since they’ve been a world leader over the last five hundred years, it’s no surprise they knew where they were headed before anyone else.

Rudders and compasses? Sounds like a nation of Sea Scouts.

You might ask which is more important, the compass or rudder?


These are more Chinese inventions than I expected to find.

About David Gillaspie
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