The Machines of Ancient China — Part 1/4

October 27, 2010

It is a common assumption in the West that we invented the machines that power our modern lifestyles.

However, new discoveries from ancient China are forcing us to rewrite history.

While Europe was mired in the so-called dark ages, ancient China ruled supreme as the world’s technological super power.

Now we are discovering that many of the inventions that have shaped our modern world had their roots in China’s ancient civilization.

There were complex geared machines that allowed production on an industrial scale such as precision seismographs that detected earthquakes, drilling machines that bored for natural gas hundreds of meters beneath the earth, or a super-scale Cosmic Engine that not only told the time but also predicted the passages of the planets and the stars.


Some of these technologies were so complex, they remained a mystery for centuries.

Two thousand year old books show in detail things that are still needed today — sixteen hundred years ahead of the West.

Another discovery from ancient China is still important – drilling for oil. We assume it was modern engineers that developed oil-drilling techniques.

In fact, the techniques used in gaining access to oil and natural gas were reinvented from what the Chinese had already invented two thousand years ago.

During the Song Dynasty (960 – 1276 AD), China’s innovations reached their peak. Inventers and engineers were creating machines that wouldn’t be seen in the West for another thousand years.

For example, in Shantung province, a recent discovery demonstrated the advanced metal forging abilities of ancient China – the remains of a giant cast iron pagoda built during the Song Dynasty.

To discover more inventions see Chinese Crossbow and other Inventions


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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